~ Gesticht àls Gesticht ter Voorkoming v/d Maatschappelijke Randdebiliteit ~
~ HÉT "progressief" Orgaan Der "Hangmatsocialisten" ~ Gesticht àls Gesticht ter Voorkoming v/d Maatschappelijke & Politieke Randdebiliteit
Aandacht voor het Ollandse nageslacht veroorzaakt animo bij levenden !!
Dat we hier in het westen ongebreideld kritiek mogen leveren op terroristen & schurkenstaten is bekend & is terecht. We doen dat vanuit ons morele superioriteitsbesef omdat wij burgers zijn van ~zogezegde~ "Democratische Staten" ~een goede ilussie doet tenslotte veel~...
Een democratische staat & haar instellingen o.a. haar regeringen matigen zich dan ook het recht aan om anderen te bekritiseren & te veroordelen wegens het niet naleven van de democratische beginselen. Deze beginselen hebben meestal een binnenlandse of een internationale rechtsgrond & laat het bij deze gezegd zijn, dat is ook niet zomaar voor niets !
...& Eerlijk gezegd, het aanklagen van wantoestanden kunnen we inderdaad niet genoeg doen, want tenslotte zijn er al te vaak onschuldige mensen hier het slachtoffer van & dan gewoon omdat ze niet eens recht op verdediging hebben ~&/of geen èchte (lees : goede) verdediging krijgen~...
Een recent voorbeeld daarvan is o.a. de Iraanse mensenrechtenverdedigster en nobelprijswinnares Shirin Ebadi & haar medewerkers, die het leven worden zuur gemaakt in haar land Iran, dat het inderdaad niet al te nauw neemt met de mensenrechten, als ze daar ginder al van gehoord hebben tenminste...
January 14, 2009 -- Updated 1814 GMT (0214 HKT)
Secretary for Iranian rights groups 'arrested'
TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Iranian authorities arrested a woman Wednesday who worked as a secretary for two human rights groups funded by Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi.
foto hiernaast : Nobel winner Shirin Ebadi in December leaving the building where arrested Jinous Sobhani used to work.
Speaking to CNN, Ebadi said it was unclear why Jinous Sobhani was arrested, noting that she had recently been laid off from the non-governmental organizations after they were shut down by Iranian authorities last month.
"Why should a woman who used to work for our NGOs be arrested?" the Nobel laureate asked. "I think this may be an effort to exert pressure on the Defenders of Human Rights and the Organization for Defending Mine Victims."
Ebadi said her organizations are working to secure a lawyer to represent Sobhani.
The woman's husband told Ebadi that Iranian judiciary security personnel had an arrest warrant for Sobhani and seized her early Wednesday at her Tehran home.
In addition to taking her into custody, they also confiscated her computer case, her mobile phone, and her address book, Ebadi said.
In late December, government agents raided Ebadi's law office -- which is in the same building as her apartment -- seizing two computers and dozens of files and documents on her clients, who are mostly political activists.
Her offices were shut down on December 21 during a police raid as guests arrived for a belated celebration of the 60th anniversary of the U.N.'s Human Rights Day.
Iranian authorities said the Center for the Defenders of Human Rights did not have a permit for the gathering.
That sparked condemnation by the European Union, which called on Iran "to respect their international human rights commitments and the right to peaceful assembly."
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also issued a statement of concern about the crackdown on Ebadi's organizations.
Ebadi, a former judge and veteran human rights activist, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003.
Other peace prize winners have launched a letter-writing campaign to the United Nations and to Iranian embassies around the world in an effort to raise concerns about her safety.
Toch blijven we deze keer voorlopig wat dichter bij huis... We gaan naar Olland. Bij onze noorderburen, bekend van hun tolerantie, hun voorbeeldig werkende democratie & natuurlijk hun afgrijselijke unoxmutsen... Wat er daar nu uitlekt, is voorwaar erger dan het oprukken van de Lijst Dedecker in de peilingen voor de Belgische verkiezingen van juni e.k. & dàt wil voor ons Belgen al heel wat zeggen...
Wij laten Vlaanderen eventjes meegenieten van de mistoestanden boven de grote rivieren... & ...♪♫♫♪♪... die zijn inderdaad niet mis...
Gepubliceerd: 19 januari 2009 09:37 | Gewijzigd: 19 januari 2009 11:55
Irak-onderzoek lijkt dichterbij door uitgelekt memo
Door onze redacteur Joost Oranje
De druk om een parlementair onderzoek te houden naar de Nederlandse politieke steun aan de Irak-oorlog, is toegenomen nadat zaterdag een juridisch memo uitlekte.
Den Haag, 19 jan. Enkele weken geleden leek een onderzoek naar de achtergronden van de totstandkoming van de Nederlandse politieke steun aan de Irak-oorlog in 2003 een stille dood te sterven. De PvdA had het onderwerp bij de formatie noodgedwongen laten vallen omdat premier Balkenende en het CDA ertegen zijn.
Weliswaar was de kwestie in de Eerste Kamer nog even opgevlamd, maar ook daar was aanvankelijk geen meerderheid. Totdat de VVD vorige maand van standpunt veranderde en die meerderheid er ineens wél was.
Na dit weekeinde is de politieke druk weer een stukje groter geworden. Het afgelopen zaterdag in NRC Handelsblad(N.V.D.R : te lezen !!) uitgelekte memorandum DJZ/IR/2003/158 zorgde voor een nieuwe dynamiek. Een groot aantal partijen in de Tweede Kamer heeft inmiddels opheldering gevraagd over het document, D66 wil alsnog een parlementaire enquête, net als enkele fracties in de Eerste Kamer.
Wat is de kern van het uitgelekte memorandum, opgesteld door gespecialiseerde volkenrechtjuristen van het ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken (BZ)? In de eerste plaats de conclusie dat er geen goede juridische onderbouwing is voor het standpunt om politieke steun te geven aan de Amerikaans-Britse invasie, die plaatsvond zonder een speciale resolutie van de VN-Veiligheidsraad.
Al eerder hadden juristen van BZ en van het ministerie van Defensie twijfels geuit over de rechtsgrond. Maar blijkbaar vonden ze het op BZ nodig om dat op 29 april 2003, toen de oorlog in Irak al weken aan de gang was, nogmaals te doen. In het memo weerspreken de juristen de redenering van het kabinet. Die hield kortweg in dat geweld zonder een aparte resolutie wél kon omdat eerdere resoluties uit de Golfoorlog dat zouden impliceren. Bovendien was er eerder een soortgelijk gewapend optreden in Kosovo geweest. Maar, zo beargumenteerde DJZ, beide redeneringen gaan niet op.
Los van de inhoud, is ook de reden van het memo opmerkelijk. De juristen vinden namelijk dat de toenmalige minister Jaap de Hoop Scheffer (CDA) alsnog een objectieve volkenrechtelijke inschatting moet krijgen. Sterker: hij is anders onvoldoende geïnformeerd. De reden daarvoor, laat DJZ tussen de regels door weten, is dat aan hen tot dan toe geen open vraag is gesteld, maar slechts is verzocht om een zo goed mogelijke juridische onderbouwing te geven van het Nederlandse standpunt. De juristen vonden dat een doelredenering, vertellen betrokken bronnen die anoniem willen blijven. Ze spreken van gewilde adviezen. Vandaar dat DJZ in het memo benadrukt dat ze een waarschuwende functie hebben als de grenzen van het volkenrecht overschreden dreigen te worden. Blijkbaar wilde men nog eens onderstrepen dat het standpunt in hun ogen juridisch niet voldeed.
Het derde in het oog springende punt is dat het memo de minister nooit heeft bereikt, althans niet via de formele weg. De toenmalige hoogste ambtenaar van het departement besloot de notitie niet door te sturen. Goed opbergen in de archieven voor het nageslacht, de discussie is hiermee voor dit moment gesloten!, werd op het memo geschreven. De juristen reageerden met: Het audite et alteram partem (hoor en wederhoor, red.) geldt hier kennelijk niet. Waarom het memo niet werd doorgestuurd en of de minister misschien mondeling op de hoogte van de inhoud was, is onduidelijk. Het ministerie wil niet op die vragen ingaan.
In de Kamer willen veel partijen opheldering. Regeringspartijen PvdA en ChristenUnie zijn geschrokken. Tweede Kamerlid Martijn van Dam (PvdA) noemt het onbegrijpelijk en schokkend dat het voortreffelijke memo destijds niet naar de minister is gestuurd. De VVD, SP en D66 hebben vragen gesteld aan het kabinet.
Premier Balkenende zei zaterdag zich te informeren over het voor hem onbekende memorandum. Minister Donner (Sociale Zaken, CDA) zei in het tv-programma Buitenhof dat het heel verklaarbaar is vanuit het functioneren van het departement dat het document niet werd doorgestuurd. Volgens hem kunnen ambtenaren dat doen als de inhoud reeds bekend is: Als je constateert: dit hebben we bekeken, dan kun je het niet doorgeleiden. Donner benadrukte dat het toenmalige kabinet de volkenrechtelijke aspecten heeft meegewogen en herinnerde eraan dat er destijds geen doorslaggevende argumenten tegen de politieke steun waren.
D66-fractievoorzitter Pechtold, die opnieuw pleit voor een enquête in de Tweede Kamer concludeert dat blijkbaar iedereen nu zijn eigen geschiedenis aan het schrijven is, want Donners opmerking dat deze juridische bezwaren bekend waren en zijn meegewogen, wijken essentieel af van de officiële lijn tot nu toe. Daar had Balkenende het steeds over sluitend juridisch bewijs.
Pechtold wijst op een ander aspect van het uitgelekte advies: de volgens hem ongelooflijke helderheid over de enorme frustratie die er blijkbaar leefde over het voortraject. Pechtold zegt overigens te betwijfelen of het memo écht onbekend is gebleven voor De Hoop Scheffer.
Ook vanuit de Eerste Kamer is verbaasd gereageerd op Donners uitspraken. GroenLinks-senator en juriste Britta Böhler noemt het heel vreemd dat het kabinet altijd heeft gesproken van een goede rechtsbasis: Waar kwam die dan vandaan? In ieder geval niet van de ambtenaren die er binnen het overheidsapparaat verstand van hebben, de volkenrechtjuristen op Buitenlandse Zaken.
In de senaat stelde een aantal fracties acht maanden geleden al tientallen vragen aan het kabinet over de Irak-zaak. Die werden eind december beantwoord, maar volgens een meerderheid onbevredigend.
Het was voor de VVD aanleiding om haar eerdere standpunt (een onderzoek is niet nodig) te herzien. Als een tweede serie vragen niet alsnog beter wordt beantwoord, is een meerderheid daar nu voor een onderzoek.
Böhler vindt dat nu niet meer nodig. Zij wil zo snel mogelijk een parlementaire enquête.
PvdA-senator Klaas de Vries noemt het memo schokkend, vooral omdat er enorme strijdigheden zitten tussen de opmerkingen van de premier over de juridische degelijkheid van het Nederlandse standpunt en wat de BZ-juristen daar van vonden.
Een lichtpunt ziet hij wel: kennelijk hebben deskundige ambtenaren gewoon hun werk en hun plicht gedaan.
Morgen wordt er, zowel in de Tweede- als de Eerste Kamer verder over de zaak gesproken.
Gelukkig werd de Bataafse democratie gered door vlijtige ambtenaren die "uit oogpunt van professionaliteit & van aandacht voor het nageslacht voor dit onderwerp"... Samen met vermoedelijk een vrij talrijke groep Nederlanders, durven wij de hoop uit te spreken dat in de toekomst de huidige levende inwoners ook van dergelijke nota's op de hoogte zouden worden gehouden... & we vragen ons af, of in er in het Kafkajaanse Belgistan evenveel aandacht is voor professionaliteit & bekommernis voor de aandacht voor ons nageslacht, want tenslotte kamperen "onze jongens & hun vliegmachienen" ook ergens in het verre buitenland...
...& Beste vrienden van boven de Moerdijk... misschien is het moment gekomen om de conclusies van "het voortreffelijke memorandum" in de praktijk toe te passen... Maar als we zo de eerste reacties van "Balkie" horen, zal er echter nog wel héél wat water door jullie grote rivieren moeten stromen, alvorens het ~hélààs~ zover is...
Dus hou moed Olland, want het kan nog altijd vééééél erger !!
...& Komen jullie d'r zelf niet uit... Ach, dan sturen we jullie toch onze eigenste "Ttt-top"-onderhandelaar Yves Leterme... of bij een échte crisis & mits de onvoorwaardelijke belofte om hem te naturaliseren ÉN hem natuurlijk ook dààr te houden : onzen Bert den Bleiter... Dan kunnen we ein-de-lijk binnen de zes maanden Zeeland terug aanhechten ...
Onze redactie ~als dé enige èchte Vertegenwoordigers van de Fractie der Hangmatsocialisten~ beseft hier plots dat we al veel te lang bezig zijn met quasi "onbelangrijke", zeg maar gewoonweg "onnozele" & "futiele" onderwerpen... daarom dat het diepgravende, herbronnende & dus fundamentele debat dat momenteel op een intellectueel hoogstaande manier wordt gehouden in alle geledingen van "Dé Soschiavellistische Ppp-partij van Moedertje Caroline" ons natuurlijk niet onberoerd laat...
Wij zijn ~ & dat geven we grif toe~ àlles behalve "Ppprrrogressief" te noemen ~ten andere...*GRIJNS*...hoe zouden wij dat durven te beweren & waar zouden we 't lef halen !!~ We zijn dus eerder zeer oubollig & nog een beetje van de oude stempel... Dus verkiezen wij een stevige gecentraliseerde partijleiding die de teugeltjes strak in handen houdt & die weet wat goed is voor Onsch, "hét plebsch" ofte de ~hersenloze~ leden die een sappige wortel voor de bek dient gehouden te worden, om dat karreke te trekken...
Daarom kiezen we hier & in deze, duidelijk partij voor "Dé Top" ~overigens niet meer, dan een kwestie van uw & onze èchte prioriteiten te kennen !~... Wij kiezen dus in dit specifieke geval natùùùrlijk ontegensprekelijk voor Moedertje Caroline & dus duidelijk tegen die woelige ~oh zo ondankbare~ basis in... Een basis, die trouwens ondertussen zo al stilaan is herleid tot 3 kramikkelige stoeptegels & een half afgezaagde houten vermolmde poot... Bovendien wordt diezelfde basis toch maar zwaar misleid door waarlijk reactionaire figuren als daar zijn : enen zekeren Erik De Bruyn, verder Dé Illustere Clan der Tobacken & ook nog 'n ~godvergeten wie is dat ook weer~ Bomma Mia De Vidts...
In het vakjargon der Oude Kameraden heette dat ooit : "Hét Democratisch Centralisme"... Voor de lezertjes die niet erg vertrouwd zijn met dergelijke termen omdat ze nooit werden gevormd door "Hét Rode Gestaalde Partijkader" leggen we u bij deze het principe graag even uit : de partijleiding ~nooit meer dan 4 man & een paardekop~ zet een punt op de agenda van een belangrijke militantenvergadering... Vervolgens legt de partijwoordvoerder uit dat er ~uiteraard, hoe kan het anders~ géén enkel ander alternatief is dan dàt... omdat, dubbel punt "blablabla-en-patati & patata"... kortom : "dààrom" !! Vervolgens voegt men dan een noodzakelijke plaspauze in... Na dit heugelijke & ontlastende gebeuren ~dé plaspauze dus, waar men tussen twee pisbakken in, kameraadschappelijk & op gelijke voet kan overleggen wie nu eigenlijk de grootste heeft &/of wie de grootste wordt~ gaat de ganse cirque verder & wordt er gesproken over de nog te verdelen mandaten, dé postjes &/of ~uiterst belangrijk~ "dé verkiesbare plaatsen" op een verkiezingslijst ...& pas dàn, gaat men over tot de goedkeuring van het agendapunt bij handopsteken, na het afvuren van de u allen welbekende vraag : "wie is tégen de goedkeuring van dit punt ?!..." Wat in bijna alle gevallen resulteert in : "Dé Unanieme Goedkeuring"... of anders gezegd, in een spontane totale paralyse van beide handen bij de aanwezige kameraden...
Nu weet iedereen met wat verstand hier ten lande al lang dat het èchte socialisme uit de steel van een tennis"raket" komt & dat al die ouderwetse volkshuizen drrrringend moesten vervangen worden door trendy party's met loungebars & vooral afgeschermde, discrete VIP-hoeken... Gewoon een kwestie van genoeg "verruimers" & "progressieven" te vinden & aan te trekken... Als men dan het geluk heeft van zo'n verruimer of progressief te vinden, dan kan je toch niet meteen gaan verwachten dat die maar onmiddellijk van de daken zou gaan schreeuwen "ik ben socialist !!" ...Ah, neen, want dan is dat toch géén verruimer of socialist... Logisch toch ?!... Dat sommigen zelfs deze poepsimpele primaire regels der logica niet beheersen in een milieu dat toch bevrucht is met de ideeën van de Grote Verlichting, snappen, wij ~Hangmatsocialisten pur sang~ dus langs geen kanten...
Laten we nu eens kijken naar het specifieke geval dat vandaag onze eigenste link(s)e Vlaemsche gemoederen verhit & verdeelt...
Er is het geval Bert Den Bleiter samen met zijn stiefmoema ...& niet te vergeten, nog ene vleeschgeworden Brusselse luchtbel die Gaza ging bevrijden op een zinkend vlot... plus ook nog eens, die andere nest met verdwaalde tuinkabouters... Die sluiten zich ~na helse onderhandelingsrondes aan onder de vlag "progressieven"~ bij de SP-a... Hun voornaamste eis & bekommernis is... een aanpassing van de oubollige partijnaam ~Socialistische Partij - anders~ in iets dat hun eigen duidelijke identiteit weergeeft zonder dat aan de bestaande afkorting namelijk SP-a wordt geraakt... Er wordt zo gedacht aan : "Socialisten Prutsen anders"... & Geef toe, dat dit een duidelijk & zelfs een bekend socialistisch project oproept... Verder dacht men ook aan : "Socialistische Poepers - (en) arrivisten"... dat was ook nog een alternatief, maar dit werd gelukkiglijk afgeschoten door één der toponderhandelaars omdat dit teveel geassocieerd zou worden met de LDD van onze ~uw aller bekende~ goede vrint Jean-Marie Dedecker... Bleef er tenslotte over : "Socialisten Progressieven - anders"...
Een "insider" vertelde ons ~uiteraard in alle discretie~ dat, toen Moedertje Caroline dit ultieme voorstel op de tafel gooide ~nadat ze zich eerst drie uur met Johan Vande Lannotte in de toiletten had terug getrokken~ er een gloedvol begeesterend spontaan applaus, zelfs een staande ovatie uitbrak... Ter verduidelijking, tijdens de in alle discretie gevoerde kabinetgesprekken tussen ons Caroline & "Hét Genie van Oostende" had iemand het lumineuze & uiteraard volkomen socialistische idee gekregen om een paar bakken Duvel te laten aanrukken die uiteraard leeg moesten zijn & dat ook waren bij het uitbreken van de staande ovatie... In het daarop volgende gelal & gebral werd er u-na-niem beslist dat dit een uiterst stichtend congres was geweest, die de partijnaam nu eens voor eeuwig & altijd een andere inhoud gaf & zou geven... Den Bert zou dat trouwens zelf 's anderendaags aan de socialisten aankondigen... Onze progressieven waren immers allemaal reeds op de hoogte daarvan, want ze waren alle 7 stuk voor stuk aanwezig geweest bij die helse onderhandelingen... Het vervolg leest als een roman ~goed voor een Nobel- of 'n Pullitzerprijs~ & jullie moeten dat hieronder maar even met blinkende oogjes van ware ontroering ontdekken...
We beginnen dus bij de hoofdrolspeler Bert Den Bleiter Himself... & we zeggen u nu reeds met tranen van oprechte ontroering in onze oogjes, geniet van dit hoogstaand stukje proza beste lezertjes... we citeren ~goed als we zijn~ u hierbij een stukje van deze recente parel :
...Allé Bert... ge zijt wreed goed bezig... als ons Joséke nu nog de rest van de KAV kan overtuigen, is het droomproject "Het Signaal" van Maurits Coppieters-zaliger toch al een goed eind opgeschoten...
We geven vervolgens het woord aan die jaloerse tik, Bomma Mia De Vidts... die natuurlijk siddert & beeft van pure schrik om haar Europees zitje kwijt te spelen aan Bert Den Bleiter... Maar de ware nachtmerrie zou zijn dat ze haar eerste plaats op de Europese lijst zou moeten afstaan aan... Juist !! Mama Quix, stiefmoema van Bert Den Bleiter... zij zelf heeft daar nog niet over nagedacht, maar wij ~Hangmatsocialisten van het Eérste Uur~ natuurlijk wel... & we hopen hier stiekem dat zij ons blogje leest... of dat er tenminste iemand haar daarvan op de hoogte wil brengen...
Hoezo Mia, Hét Partijbureau ?!... Dat is Moedertje Caroline & Johan Schelvis... & daarmee basta !!... Wist jij dat dan niet ?!... tsk-tsk-tsk !!
...& In het zelfde artikel vinden we zo een voorbeeld van waarlijk & ècht "Democratisch Centralisme" zoals we dat hierboven hebben trachten uit te leggen. ...& Zoietske citeren we uiteraard héél graag :
...Het vervolg van deze socialistische charade laat zich vervolgens natuurlijk zonder problemen raden... Op de eigen aan haar gekende pissige manier durft ons Mia dan nog te beweren ~..& hoe durft ze !!~... :
Voilà !! ...& Mia beseft niet eens dat de naam NIET veranderd is ?!... Maar Mia toch, je was waarschijnlijk oververmoeid, je bent wel dringend aan een paar dringende beurten Caeycediaanse Sofrologie toe...
...& Om in dezelfde burleske sfeer te blijven, geven we vervolgens graag het woord aan de beruchte & alom zéér geduchte Leuvense stand-up comedian ~een Ouwe Rat & Ouwe Rot~ die het aldus verwoordde :
Dat is nu eens wreed goed gezegd se Bert !! ...Wat denken die godverdomse sossen nu wel !! Dé énige èchte rooie rakker die tenminste kl#ten aan zijn lijf heeft is Ahidar... & wij ~Het Fractiebestuur Der Hangmatsocialisten~ treden deze stelling grif bij !! Méér nog zelfs... wij beloven hierbij èchtig & plechtig er alles aan te zullen doen, opdat deze heroïsche held zijn welverdiende blauwgranieten mausoleum zal krijgen bij zijn verscheiden !! ...& Bij leven & welzijn, talrijke monumenten in èchten brons & inlandse blauwe steen natuurlijk... Wat de sukkelende binnenlandse economie trouwens een stevige boost zal geven, zeker gezien de aanzienlijke volumes brons & steen die we zullen moeten bestellen om een zo getrouw mogelijke afbeelding te krijgen in "socialistisch-progressieve" stijl van diegene die we vanaf vandaag "Dé Redder van Gaza" zullen noemen...
...& Speciaal voor onze Ollandse lezers willen we toch wat info geven over 's mans zijn roemrijke heldendaden, die momenteel druk-druk worden voort verteld in menige Brusselse Chichabar...
Zeg nu zelf waarde kameraden... zulke waarlijke & oprechte dadendrang doet ons revolutionaire bloed toch kolken & gieren van laaiend & vurig bezielend enthousiasme ?!... Geef die nieuwe kameraad toch onmiddellijk sito presto, nen emmer, nen borstel & een spons !!...
Bon... we zien ons spijtig genoeg verplicht wegens "geestelijke gezondheidsredenen" ~gezien de omstandigheden tijd voor een dubbele portie Xanax~ om dit gróóóóte verruimingsdebat & nagelnieuw project van 't enige èchte Link(s)e Vlaanderen hier af te sluiten...
We beseffen ten volle dat jullie nù, hier & ook in het verre Olland onverwijld met drieste moed aan het verzamelen der linkse krachten zult willen meewerken... Waarlijk "éénsgezind & solidair" zeg maar ...*BURPZzz*... zoals we hier net hebben aangetoond !!
...& Vergeet bij deze vooral niet... dat ons aller Moeder der "Soschiavellistische Partij", ons Caroline binnenkort weer eens een nieuwe ledenbevraging wenst te organiseren... uiteraard pas van zodra de gemoederen weer wat getemperd zijn... & net zoals de vorige keer, zal zij daarvoor beroep doen op het zelfde "onafha-haha-nkelijk" bureau, waarvan de baas, de echtgenoot is van een socialistisch minister & les geeft aan de Katholieke Universiteit Brussel...
Maar dat laatste is dan ook weer niet meer dan een vette & smerige roddel van die "trotskistische" & "communistische" ~NIET te verwarren met Stalinistische, want anders kreeg ie meteen zijn zitje in het Partijbureau~ Kameraad Erik De Bruyn...
Waar we hier al een tijdje over aan 't schrijven zijn & wat we hier dus ook al een aantal dagen aan het vrezen waren, wordt ons bij deze dus ~erg genoeg~ bevestigd door de eerste onafhankelijke fotograaf die er in slaagt Gaza te betreden... & Dat dit dan toevallig een Brusselaar is, zoiets doet ons deugd !!
Zijn vaststellingen zijn echter een ware nachtmerrie... & wij sluiten ons dus nog maar eens aan, bij al diegenen die eisen dat de verantwoordelijken van dergelijke wandaden tegen burgers ~tegen weerloze vrouwen & kinderen in het bijzonder~ moeten worden veroordeeld voor oorlogsmisdaden door het Internationaal Strafhof in Den Haag !!
BRUSSEL - De Brusselse fotograaf Bruno Stevens (49) heeft bewijzen dat Israël in Gaza witte fosfor gebruikt.
Bruno Stevens is deze week als eerste buitenlandse fotograaf Gaza binnengeraakt. 'Ik ben via Egypte binnengeraakt. Ik heb goede contacten bij de VN, dat heeft zeker geholpen', zegt Stevens, aan de telefoon vanuit Rafah in Gaza.
'Ik was niet alleen de eerste, maar drie dagen lang ook de enige buitenlander die hier beelden maakte. Gaza binnengeraken was bijzonder complex, maar daarna kon ik hier wel makkelijk werken. Na drie weken van zware bombardementen zonder buitenlandse pottenkijkers, hebben de Palestijnen me hier met open armen ontvangen.'
De burgers van Gaza hebben zwaar onder het offensief te lijden, stelt Stevens vast: 'Ze vertellen me hoe moeilijk het is te overleven, aan eten te geraken. Ze vluchten voortdurend naar minder gevaarlijk gebied. De burgerbevolking lijdt zwaar in deze oorlog.'
In Rafah wees gistermiddag niets op een nakend bestand: 'Het is best mogelijk dat er dit weekend een staakt-het-vuren wordt bereikt. Maar op dit moment hoor ik de Israëlische artillerie op drie kilometer hier vandaan.'
Bruno Stevens heeft de afgelopen week vooral in het zuiden van Gaza gewerkt, rond Rafah, Khan Yunis en de omliggende dorpen. Hij zegt in alle onafhankelijkheid te kunnen werken: 'Bij mijn aankomst zei een verantwoordelijke van Hamas dat de beweging voor mijn veiligheid wilde instaan. Ik heb dat aanbod afgeslagen. Hij begreep dat. Ik heb niettemin vrije toegang tot de ziekenhuizen, tot de scholen en tot de burgerbevolking. Alleen beelden van Hamasstrijders zijn verboden. Maar dat noem ik geen censuur, in België mag ik ook geen foto's nemen van het leger in actie.'
Volgens de Brusselse fotograaf is die restrictie in geen enkel opzicht te vergelijken met de Israëlische belemmeringen voor de pers: 'Israël wil geen buitenlandse pottenkijkers, onder meer omdat het witte fosfor gebruikt. In het dorp Al Kuza'ah heb ik foto's gemaakt van fosfor onder het zand. De bewoners van dat dorp zeiden me dat ik met mijn voeten het zand opzij moest duwen. Ik heb dat gedaan, en er ontstond een vlam, liefst 36 uur na de Israëlische aanval.'
Witte fosfor is een zelfontbrandbare stof. Een aanval met fosfor ruikt naar knoflook. Volgens het internationale oorlogsrecht is het toegestaan fosfor te gebruiken, om militaire operaties te verbergen. Het kan gebruikt worden om een rookgordijn te maken, bijvoorbeeld om te camoufleren dat de troepen oprukken.
Maar de gereputeerde mensenrechtenorganisatie Human Rights Watch (HRW) wijst op de grote gevaren van fosfor in woongebied, zeker in zo'n dichtbevolkte streek als Gaza. Witte fosfor kan volgens HRW huizen in de as leggen en veroorzaakt bij het eerste contact met de huid diepe, ernstige brandwonden.
Hoewel het gebruik van fosfor op zich niet verboden is, wijst Human Rights Watch erop dat Israël tijdens militaire operaties verplicht is alle mogelijke voorzorgsmaatregelen te treffen om de risico's en de gevaren voor burgers zo klein mogelijk te maken. Witte fosfor gebruiken in een van de meest dichtbevolkte gebieden ter wereld is daarmee rechtstreeks in tegenspraak, aldus HRW.
Behalve Bruno Stevens zeggen ook onderzoekers van Human Rights Watch dat zij op 9 en 10 januari boven Gaza-Stad en het vluchtelingenkamp Jabalya explosies van fosforgranaten hebben gezien. Het Israëlische leger ontkent dat het fosforgranaten heeft gebruikt bij zijn offensief tegen Gaza-Stad. Twee jaar geleden bevestigde Israël wel dat het fosfor had gebruikt tijdens de oorlog tegen Hezbollah in Libanon.
Een mens zou zo denken dat ~na wat Israël intussen zo allemaal heeft uitgespookt~ enkel al in Libanon alleen al, er toch ooit wel eens iemand ter verantwoording zou worden geroepen ?!... Of niet dan ?!...
Indien u het allemaal niet zo goed meer weet of indien u inmiddels gewoon de tel kwijt bent ~hetgeen ons ook niet echt zou verwonderen~ ...willen wij hierbij eventjes uw geheugen opfrissen met ~slechts~ enkele blijkbaar te verwaarlozen faits-divers op het bloedige palmares van de "Democratie" Israël :
#2006 : Israël vuurt maar liefst 4 miljoen (!!) clusterbommen af boven Libanon...
#Qana : (zie ook het artikel met de traantjes van Miri Eisen) :
Israël bestookt voor de twééde keer scholen & VN gebouwen waarbij tientallen onschuldige burgerslachtoffers vallen...
#1982 : bij een massale slachtpartij vallen in de vluchtelingenkampen van Sabra en Chatila tussen de 1000 en 2000 doden, uitsluitend vrouwen en kinderen... De toenmalige Minister van Defensie, Ariel Sharon werd hiervoor in een Israëlische onderzoekscommissie achteraf (de zgn. Kahan Commissie) persoonlijk verantwoordelijk gesteld voor dit bloedbad & dat betekende meteen ook het ~voorlopige~ einde van zijn politieke carrière....
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Kahan Commission (ועדת כהן), formally known as the Commission of Inquiry into the Events at the Refugee Camps in Beirut, was established by the Israeli government on 28 September 1982, to investigate the Sabra and Shatila Massacre (16 September-18 September, 1982). The Kahan Commission was chaired by the President of the Supreme Court, Yitzhak Kahan. Its other two members were Supreme Court Judge Aharon Barak, and Major-General (res.) Yona Efrat. The Commission was to make recommendations on Israeli involvement in the massacre through an investigation of:
[A]ll the facts and factors connected with the atrocity carried out by a unit of the Lebanese Forces against the civilian population in the Shatilla and Sabra camps.
Following its investigation, on 8 February 1983, the Kahan Commission submitted its report. It concluded that direct responsibility rested with the Jemayel Phalangists led by Fadi Frem, and that no Israelis were deemed directly responsible, although Israel was held to be indirectly responsible.
The decision on the entry of the Phalangists into the refugee camps was taken without consideration of the danger - which the makers and executors of the decision were obligated to forsee as probable - the the Phalangists would commit massacres and pogroms against the inhabitants of the camps, and without an examination of the means for preventing this danger.
Similarly, it is clear from the course of events that when the reports began to arrive about the actions of the Phalangists in the camps, no proper heed was taken of these reports, the correct conclusions were not drawn from them, and no energetic and immediate action were taken to restrain the Phalangists and put a stop to their actions.
The Defence Minister, Ariel Sharon, was found to bear personal responsibility(1) "for ignoring the danger of bloodshed and revenge" and "not taking appropriate measures to prevent bloodshed". Sharon's negligence in protecting the civilian population of Beirut, which had come under Israeli control amounted to a non-fulfillment of a duty with which the Defence Minister was charged, and it was recommended that Sharon be dismissed as Defence Minister.
Initially, Sharon refused to resign, and Prime Minister Menachem Begin refused to fire him. However, following a peace march against the government, as the marchers were dispersing, a grenade was thrown into the crowd, killing Emil Grunzweig, a reserve combat officer and peace activist, and wounding half a dozen others, including the son of the Interior Minister.(2) Although Sharon resigned as Defence Minister, he remained in the Cabinet as a Minister without Portfolio. Years later Sharon would be elected Israel's Prime Minister.
The Commission arrived to similar conclusions with respect to Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Rafael Eitan (tantamount to a breach of duty that was incumbent upon the Chief of Staff), as well as Director of Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Yehoshua Saguy, and other Intelligence officials though the Mossad was not reprimanded and parts of the report commenting on its role remain under military censorship. Critics of the Commission point to its limited scope, some of whom argue it amounted to a whitewash.
The final paragraph of the report says: "We do not deceive ourselves that the results of this inquiry will convince or satisfy those who have prejudices or selective consciences, but this inquiry was not intended for such people. We have striven and have spared no effort to arrive at the truth, and we hope that all persons of good will who will examine the issue without prejudice will be convinced that the inquiry was conducted without any bias."
---------- (1)Schiff, Ze'ev Ehud Ya'ari (1984). Israel's Lebanon War. - Simon and Schuster. p. 284. ISBN 0-671-47991-1.
(2) Silver, Eric (1984). Begin: The Haunted Prophet. Random House. p. 239. ISBN 0-394-52826-3.
# Bregman, Ahron (2002). Israel's Wars: A History Since 1947. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-28716-2
# The Beirut Massacre: the Complete Kahan Commission Report. Karz-Cohl, Princeton, NJ, 1983. (ISBN 0-943828-55-4)
#2008 - 2009 : Israël gebruikt massaal "massavernietigingswapens" zoals clusterbommen, witte fosfor & DIME... & ontziet daarbij niets of niemand... Ziekenhuizen, scholen & VN gebouwen worden platgebombardeerd... & volgens een BBC artikel heeft de Israelische mensenrechtenorganisatie Btselem vastgesteld dat ook vluchtende vrouwen & kinderen daarbij zonder pardon onder vuur genomen werden door Israëlische schutters...
Page last updated at 17:28 GMT,
Wednesday, 14 January 2009
Israelis 'shot at fleeing Gazans'
Many Palestinian civilians are caught up in the fighting in Gaza
Claims have been received by the BBC and an Israeli human rights group that Israeli troops have fired on Gaza residents trying to escape the conflict area. Israel has strongly denied the allegations.
BBC journalists in Gaza and Israel have compiled detailed accounts of the claims.
Some Palestinian civilians in Gaza say Israeli forces shot at them as they tried to leave their homes - in some cases bearing white flags.
One testimony heard by the BBC and human rights group B'tselem describes Israeli forces shooting a woman in the head after she stepped out of her house carrying a piece of white cloth, in response to an Israeli loudhailer announcement.
The Israeli military has dismissed the report as "without foundation".
The BBC has spoken to members of another family who say they are trapped in their home by fighting and have been shot at when they tried to leave to replenish dwindling water and food supplies, even during the three-hour humanitarian lull.
Israel is denying access to Gaza for international journalists and human rights monitors, so it is not possible to verify the accounts.
B'tselem said it had been unable to corroborate the testimony it had received, but felt it should be made public.
Munir Shafik al-Najar, of Khouza village in the south-east of the Gaza Strip, told B'tselem and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) of a series of events on Monday which he said left four members of his extended family dead.
He told the BBC that some 75 members of his extended family had ended up huddled in a house, surrounded by Israeli forces, after troops shelled the area and destroyed his brother's home on Sunday night.
On Monday morning, he said the family heard an announcement over a loudspeaker.
"The Israeli army was saying: 'This is the Israeli Defence Forces, we are asking all the people to leave their homes and go to the school. Ladies first, then men.'
"We decided to send the women first, two by two," he said.
First to step outside was the wife of his cousin, Rawhiya al-Najar, 48.
"The army was about 15 metres (50 feet) away from the house or less. They shot her in the head," he said.
The woman's daughter was shot in the thigh but crawled back inside the house, he said.
For several hours, the family telephoned the Red Crescent, human rights organisations and Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah in the hope of co-ordinating safe passage to evacuate people injured in the earlier shelling, Mr Najar said.
Several hours later, no help had arrived.
"We decided that's it, we're going to die, we are [going] to run and all die at once," he said.
"When we did that they started shooting with heavy ammunition from a machine gun on top of a tank," he said.
All the adults carried white flags, he said, adding that he was still grasping a piece of white cloth as he spoke over the telephone a day later.
Three of his relatives, Muhammad Salman al-Najar, 54, Ahmad Jum'a al-Najar, 27, and Khalil Hamdan al-Najar, 80, were killed, he said.
The troops "knew this man was an old man," he said, because they were so close.
B'tselem says it is working to corroborate the account.
A second family member, Riad Zaki al-Najar, gave the BBC a similar account by telephone.
"They told us you all have to go to the centre of the town, where the school is.
"We put the women first, and we put our children on our shoulders, with white bandanas on their heads.
"When we were walking, with the women first, they saw soldiers and they started to shout to them, to tell them 'we have children, we have children'. They started to shoot us. My aunt was killed with a bullet in her head."
Israel says it tries to protect civilians and blames Hamas for endangering them
The BBC also spoke to Marwan Abu Rida, a paramedic with the Palestinian Red Crescent, who says he was called to the site at 0810 local time (0610 GMT).
But he says he came under fire as he tried to reach it, and was trapped in a house nearby until 2000 (1800 GMT) because of Israeli shooting.
He said that when he reached the location he found the dead woman, Rawhiya, who appeared to have been shot in the head, as well as the younger woman who was injured.
In a written response to the incident, the Israeli military said: "An initial inquiry into the allegation raised by B'tselem has concluded that the claims are without foundation.
"The IDF goes to great lengths to avoid harming Palestinians uninvolved in combat and reiterates that it is Hamas that chooses to launch its attacks against Israeli towns from within civilian areas."
The account bears similarities to another received by B'tselem, from Yusef Abu Hajaj, a resident of Juhar al-Dik, south of Gaza City.
He told B'tselem his mother and sister were shot as they tried to flee their home bearing a white banner, in a group of people including small children.
He said an Israeli tank had fired at their house, and they had heard the Israeli military was urging civilians to leave their homes, so had tried to flee.
The ICRC has repeatedly stressed that it is having difficulty reaching families stranded by the fighting, often including injured people and dead bodies.
Its Gaza spokesman, Iyad Nasser, said ambulance crews were struggling to respond to "tens" of calls from areas they still had not gained sufficient access to.
The head of one such family, Daoud Shtewi, told the BBC by telephone that he and 35 members of his family had been trapped in their home, surrounded by Israeli forces, in Zeitoun, a south-eastern suburb of Gaza City, for 10 days.
"We can't even look through the windows because we get fired on," Mr Shtewi said.
"We tried to get water from the neighbours because our tanks are running dry. We are also running out of food and have been without electricity for more than 12 days.
"My mother and father need medicines for high blood pressure and diabetes. We have run out."
The area, known to house Palestinian militants, has been the scene of some of the heaviest clashes during Israel's operation in Gaza.
It is one of several that Palestinian Red Crescent convoys have been struggling to reach.
It was also the place where the ICRC said it found four small children who had waited with their dead mothers, apparently with no food or water, for four days last week.
Mr Shtewi said 17 children - aged between six weeks and 15 years, and six women, were in the house in the west of the neighbourhood.
"We have tried to leave the house during the three-hour humanitarian ceasefire, but we got shot at," he said.
He said the family had repeatedly tried to contact the PRC.
Aid agencies say the Gaza Strip is facing a humanitarian crisis
An ambulance driver with the PRC told the BBC he had received details of a family of 35 people in the location concerned.
But he said it was a closed military zone, that the ambulance workers had not been able to secure co-ordination with the Israeli military to reach it, and were planning to go there as soon as they could secure safe passage with the military.
Israeli military spokesman Jacob Dallal said Hamas was launching rockets from the area in question, and was using civilians' houses - "exactly these types of homes" - to fire rockets from.
"Especially people who try to move out, those could well be - as they have repeatedly been - Hamas people trying to sneak up and fire on the soldiers. If you look from the soldiers' perspective it's exceptionally difficult - you don't know who's behind that door."
He said that Hamas "specifically uses the lull as a time to fire", and Israeli forces fire back if they are fired upon during that period.
And he added that the military was working with international agencies to try to facilitate safe passage for ambulances and the transport of aid amid the fighting.
Research and reporting by Hamada Abu Qammar in Gaza and Heather Sharp, Fouad Abu Ghosh and Raya el-Din in Jerusalem
We vragen ons intussen dus toch wel af ~zij het slechts een héél klein beetje & hoogstwaarschijnlijk kunt u uiteraard het antwoord hierop reeds raden~ of zij daar vandaag of in de toekomst allemaal mee zullen blijven wegkomen... & zoals uit onderstaand artikel mag blijken, vragen een hoop ándere weldenkende mensen zich dit ook af...
Thursday, 15 January 2009
Barak and all Israeli Leaders To the Hague
Written by Michael Warschawski, Alternative Information Center (AIC)
That war crimes are being perpetuated by the Israeli military in Gaza is not anymore a question, but hard facts documented by tens of television programs, videos and photos.
The Israeli perpetuators of these crimes must be tried in an international court of justice for war crimes and crimes against humanity, in particular Ehud Barak, Ehud Olmert, Tzipi Livni, Chief of Staff General Gabi Ashkenazi, and Air Force Commander General Ido Nechushtan. Their crimes are definitely not less horrible than the ones that brought Milosevic and his generals to an international war crimes tribunal.
The Alternative Information Center has decided to join the call of one hundred civil organizations from all over the world demanding the opening of a procedure by the International Court of Justice in the Hague.
In the meantime, and until an international court of justice will put Israeli leaders on trial, civil society throughout the world should strengthen the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, a state that has clearly put itself outside the framework of international law and human rights constraints.
Impunity is what may transform international relations into a jungle. Whoever aspires to a civilized world, in which human lives and dignity are respected, must demand the immediate implementation of sanctions on the outlaw state of Israel.
At the last minute...
We have just heard that the Israeli forces attacked a hospital of Gaza City, which is on fire. Hundreds are buried under the rubble and the military is preventing ambulances to reach the place.
THE HAGUE, Jan 14 (Reuters) - The International Criminal Court prosecutor in The Hague said on Wednesday it lacks jurisdiction to investigate possible war crimes recently committed in the Gaza Strip.
The prosecutor's statement came after a Palestinian rights group called on the ICC to investigate Israel for committing war crimes during its 19-day-old offensive in Gaza.
The office of the prosecutor said the court's jurisdiction is limited to war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of genocide committed on the territory of, or by a national of, a state party.
"In Gaza at present, the ICC lacks such jurisdiction," the prosecutor said in a statement.
The prosecutor said crimes committed in other situations can come before the ICC if the relevant non-party state voluntarily accepts the jurisdiction of the court on an ad hoc basis or if the United Nations Security Council refers a situation.
Set up in 2000, the Hague-based ICC is the world's first permanent court established to investigate and prosecute war crimes.
Israel and the United States are not among the 108 countries that have signed the Rome Statute creating the court, but that would not prevent the ICC from launching an investigation.
(Reporting by Aaron Gray-Block; Editing by Matthew Jones)
Anders gesteld... wanneer de Westerse mogendheden vooral uit economische overwegingen overal uit hun voormalige kolonies "negerkes" willen gaan wegkapen zoals daar zijn Habré, Bouterse, Charles Taylor of Mugabe om deze frisse knapen vervolgens voor dat zelfde Internationale Strafhof te slepen... raar maar waar, dàn is er geen enkel probleem !! Màààrr oorlogsmisdaden beraamd of gesponsord door diezelfde Westerse Mogendheden vallen dan zogezegd weer niet onder de bevoegdheid van dat zelfde Internationaal Strafhof ?!...
Vooraleer men ons ervan verdenkt dat we onze "Choux de Bruxelles met Spek" eten met een Arafatsjaal rond de nek & met een authentieke Hamasvlag boven ons dressoir, willen we jullie er toch eventjes op wijzen dat er toch ook bij de Joodse medeburgers, zowel in Israël als elders in de wereld niet zo'n grote solidariteit waar te nemen valt met de "beestigheden" die door de Israëlische regering worden aangericht.
We geven jullie hierbij meteen een voorbeeld, waar wij ons volledig in kunnen terugvinden
URGENT CALL TO ACTION
We write with grief and rage as we watch the horrifying Israeli air and ground attacks on Gaza. As Jews committed to ending Zionism, the founding ideology of Israel, and all forms of colonialism, we stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people, who continue to struggle in the face of these attacks, much as they have against more than 60 years of ethnic cleansing and racism. As Joseph Massad recently wrote, Gaza is in uprising against genocide, and is receiving today the same indifference from the capitals of the West that the rebels in the Warsaw Ghetto received in 1943.
We stand with the hundreds of thousands who have taken the streets in solidarity with Gaza's resistance. We stand with all those who struggle against racism, dispossession and genocide.
We stand with the majority. We will not be silent on Gaza.
We reject Israel's pretense to act in response to rocket attacks on Israel by Hamas. Israel broke the ceasefire on November 4, 2008, while world attention was focused on U.S. elections.
What the Israeli government calls "security" is fundamentally opposed to the real safety of all people living in the region. Residents of Sderot and other towns bordering Gaza have begged the government of Israel to maintain the cease-fire and accused it of "wasting that period of calm, instead of using it to advance understanding and begin negotiations." With United States, European Union, and Egyptian collusion, Israel imposed a siege and blockade for over two years, intentionally preventing its economic recovery, degrading its civilian infrastructure, attempting to dismantle self-governance, and preventing travel and obstructing humanitarian aid. That siege, which was and continues to be a gross violation of human rights and a crime against humanity, led directly to the present escalation. As of today, Israeli forces have killed over 700 people and injured thousands. Israel has bombed mosques, universities, police headquarters, roads, office buildings, and residential neighborhoods, and schools, causing indescribable and horrible destruction. This isn't defense. This isn't a war between two sides. This is terrorism. This is genocide.
We stand with the majority. We will not be silent on Gaza.
As Jews, we have an additional responsibility to speak and to act against these despicable acts, because we are heirs to the victims of a genocide, because Israel is claiming to "defend" us through the ethnic cleansing of Palestine with the ultimate goal of erasing the Palestinian people, and also because of the role played by the Jewish organizations in the United States and the West in justifying, perpetrating, and escalating Israeli state terrorism against Palestinians.
We recall that the violence in Gaza today is the inevitable outcomethe latest link in a chain of terrorthat results from an ideology based on the dispossession of the indigenous people of Palestine in favor of European Jews. Just as the ideology of White racism was the backbone of Apartheid in South Africa, so the ideology of Zionism explains the history of violence in Palestine, the ethnic cleansing of 1948, the occupation of the West bank and Gaza in 1967, and the many massacres that Israel perpetrated periodically since 1948 to the present one in Gaza. The maintenance of the Israeli state as a state founded on and perpetuating Jewish privilege requires the denial and attempted annihilation of the Palestinian people.
We recall that unless this ideology is delegitimized and defeated, the violence in the Middle East will continue to escalate until either Palestinian or Jewish existence in the area ends, and possibly both. Racism and colonial domination will never be the basis for peace.
We stand with the majority. We will not be silent on Gaza.
We insist on an immediate end to Israel's assault, a complete withdrawal of all Israeli forces, a complete and unconditional end to the siege, and the restoration and extension of the ceasefire. We insist on the establishment of a special international tribunal for investigating the crimes of the Israeli leadership of this siege.
We affirm the urgent need for Jewish resistance to Zionism and stand committed to the extrication of Jewish history, politics, community, and culture from the grip of Zionism.
We situate our work in a long legacy of Jewish people throughout history who have stood in solidarity with others in common struggles against all forms of racism, empire building, and repression. As a growing sector of the Palestine solidarity movement, we call upon all Jews of conscience to take a strong stand against the current escalation of violence, as well as the murderous ground upon which Zionist ideology and the Israeli state has been constructed. We call on Jews to put an end to complicity, to break the silence, and to confront the fallacy of a Zionist consensus. We call on anti-Zionist Jews around the world to organize in escalation against the massacres on Gaza, and to continue to support Palestinian resistance through campaigns of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions, and through actions that target their own governments' financial and political support for Israel.
We stand with the majority. We will not be silent on Gaza.
Zoals het u allen ~nijvere lezertjes van dit blog~ waarschijnlijk bekend is, zijn sommige zaken &/of gebeurtenissen te grof om 't in woorden te kunnen vatten, laat staan om het met woorden aan anderen duidelijk te kunnen maken... De gebeurtenissen in Gaza vallen intussen onder dat soort zaken...
In een tijdvak waar beelden de boventoon voeren in communicatie, lijkt het ons daarom soms ook het best om af & toe beelden te gebruiken i.p.v. woorden...
Toen wij enkele dagen geleden volgende filmpje vonden op You Tube ~& dat tenslotte dateert van 5 januari laatstleden, zijnde 10 dagen geleden~ waren wij eigenlijk een méér dan gewoon verbijsterd... om niet te zeggen, dat we er behoorlijk stil van werden & dat ook nog steeds zijn....
Gaza 2009 Amerikaans Congres keurt Israël's Gaza-offensief goed
Nadat Israël wereldwijde oproepen tot een wapenstilstand & talloze smeekbedes vanwege de VN vierkant aan haar laars heeft gelapt heeft nu ook het Amerikaanse Congress nog eens wat van zich laten horen... U weet wel, het Amerikaanse Huis van Afgevaardigden, waar er inmiddels een comfortabele Democratisch meerderheid zetelt ~die er trouwens nog steeds niet in slaagt om de oorlog en de illegale bezetting van Irak te beëindigen !!~ & waar binnenkort een Democratische "President Elect" ~Change we can believe in... remember ?!...~ George Bush zal opvolgen...
Welnu, vorige vrijdag ~9/01/2009~ hebben de Amerikaanse "Volksvertegenwoordigers" inmiddels zelf ook een resolutie gestemd over het bombardement van Gaza, waar het aantal doden inmiddels de 900 al gepasseerd is... ~...& wat had u gedacht ?!...~ hierin zeggen de Amerikanen ~natuurlijk, hoe kan het anders~ Israël ook alle steun toe... zoals verwacht uiteraard...
Slechts 22 leden,waaronder Keith Ellis, de enige moslim in het Amerikaanse Congress, onthielden zich, hetgeen eigenlijk ook gewoon betekent dat ze het om één of andere reden niét over hun ... nu ja... "hart " konden krijgen om tégen de bombardementen in Gaza te stemmen...
Slechts enkele "dissidenten" hadden het lef om tégen de resolutie te stemmen, waaronder Ron Paul, Republikein uit Texas & Libertair presidentskandidaat, die zich ook altijd gekant heeft tégen de oorlog in Irak & Dennis Kucinich, Democraat uit Ohio, die trouwens ook presidentskandidaat was & die tijdens de "primaries" ~de Amerikaanse voorverkiezingen~ werd uitgesloten van bijna alle televisiedebatten ~wat een fijne "democratie hebben ze daar toch !!~ waarvoor een rechter niet uitdrukkelijk had geoordeeld dat hij er wél aan kon deelnemen...
"Judge Rules Dennis Kucinich must be in Las Vegas Debate" duur : 2:26 minuten ...
Over de resolutie waarin Israël het recht kreeg op "zelfverdediging" (N.V.D.R. : Palestijnen hebben blijkbaar géén recht op zelfverdediging ?!...) had Kucinich het volgende te zeggen:
"I'm hopeful that we do not support the inhumanity that has been repeatedly expressed by the Israeli army. "We must take a new direction in the Middle East, and that new direction must be mindful of the inhumane conditions in Gaza".
We laten de man graag nog wat meer aan het woord:
Wake Up America !!
"WAKE UP AMERICA! Israel is Killing Children With Your Tax Dollars!" duur : 1:38 minuten ...
...& Ook nog :
"Kucinich Documents Israel's War Crimes On The Record!" duur : 4:31 minuten ...
Ook Ron Paul laten we graag even aan het woord.... wat zou hij te vertellen hebben over bijvoorbeeld Hamas ?!...
"Ron Paul: Israel Created Hamas!" duur : 3:01 minuten ...
...& Ook nog :
"Ron Paul on Gaza 1-3-09" duur : 6:42 minuten ...
...& Dus zou een mens denken, als er verstandige mensen hun gedacht zeggen over dit soort zaken, dat er daar dan toch naar geluisterd zal worden ?!...
"US Congress votes to back Israel for the War on Gaza" duur : 2:26 minuten ...
Màààrr... héláás... héláás... telkens als de USA de kans krijgen om eens één énkele keer een menswaardig gezicht te tonen aan de hele wereld in het algemeen aan zo'n goeie 1 miljard (?) moslims in het bijzonder, slagen ze er steeds weer in om een nieuwe uppercut uit te delen aan al de mensen die nog een greintje geloof hadden in de goede bedoelingen van de Amerikanen... Goede bedoelingen die ze blijkbaar dus ook niet hebben...
...& Zeker waar het Israel aangaat kun je blijkbaar als Amerikaan maar beter niet al te dissident gedrag vertonen, want... zoals ook het laatste beeldfragment vermeldt, de Joodse lobby(s) in de VS zijn machtig, héél erg machtig...
Maar is dat ook zo ?!... In één van onze volgende bijdragen hopen wij dit ook eens wat van dichterbij onder onze ~u allen bekende~ loep te nemen.
Gaza 2009 - Over het Nieuwjaarsvuurwerk van Israël - Chronologie van een aangekondigde ramp - PART I (1)
"Gaza... eind december 2008" duur : 0:37 minuten ...
In het kader van de recente gebeurtenissen in het Midden Oosten, met name in Gaza gaan wij hier dus nog even door op het minder prettige "nieuwjaarsvuurwerk" dat er daar werd & nog steeds wordt afgeschoten....
Voor we beginnen, willen we bij wijze van disclaimer graag even enkele stellingen poneren waarmee we nù reeds een aantal holle slogans willen ontkrachten die men nogal eens naar de hoofden pleegt te slingeren van mensen die voor hun mening durven uitkomen.
Bij kitokojungle hebben we het altijd voor de mensen. Eerlijk gezegd vinden wij "staten", "naties", "mogendheden" of "landen" niet veel meer dan logge vehikels die voorlopig blijkbaar nog nodig zijn om het boeltje te laten draaien als een stoomtrein met zand in de motor... & als 't aan ons lag, zouden we ze nog het liefst van al zo spoedig mogelijk zien verdwijnen, want dan is het meteen ook gedaan met het concept van de "internationale belangen" van die staten waar o.m. ook de miljoenen euro's landbouwsubsidies onder vallen die mee verantwoordelijk zijn voor de schrijnende economische situatie in Afrika... of waardoor Amerika 't blijkbaar nodig vindt om te weigeren om voedsel als basisbehoefte te erkennen als een elementair ménsenrecht.
...& Zoals naar goede gewoonte, citeren we :
December 24, 2008
The Right to Food
Sixty-third General Assembly
THIRD COMMITTEE DRAFT TEXT ENDORSES RECOMMENDATIONS, FUTURE WORKPLAN OF HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCILS WORKING GROUP ON RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT
Vote on Right to Food
The draft resolution on the right to food (document A/C.3/63/L.42/Rev.1) was approved by a recorded vote of 180 in favour to 1 against, with no abstentions, as follows:
In favour : Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte dIvoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao Peoples Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Het is overigens precies dáárom dat we onszelf stoute & vooral zelfdenkende "linkiewinkies" noemen : we zijn namelijk tégen onderdrukking, uitbuiting, bezetting, racisme, discriminatie & vóór een zo groot mogelijke individuele welvaart, vrijheid & ~niet te vergeten~ een zo groot mogelijke vrijheid van meningsuiting, voor iederéén en dus niét alleen voor mensen die het met ons eens zijn !!
Waar het Israël betreft hebben we het ook voor de mensen & wanneer er dus Israelis omkomen, hetzij in een verkeersongeval of ingevolge de ellendige aanvallen van Hamas, Fatah, de Al Aqsa brigades, Het Volksfront voor de Bevrijding van Palestina, of andere, dan vinden wij dat vanzelfsprekend ook erg jammer & op geen énkele manier goed te praten !! Laat dit dus tenminste zéér duidelijk zijn !!
Voor het vormen van weer maar eens onze ongezouten mening over het Midden Oosten probleem doen we in dit geval dan ook, waar mogelijk & dus althans voor het grootste deel, énkel een beroep op Israëlische bronnen, media en berichtgeving, waar ze overigens zelf vaak niet mals zijn voor hun eigen leiders & hun eigen politieke besluitvorming. Hopelijk vermindert deze aanpak ook de kans dat wij zelf binnen de kortste keren worden afgedaan als antisemitische holocaustontkenners... & in ieder geval wordt de kans ook een pak kleiner dat we per abuis gaan lenen in de geschriften van pakweg een David Duke, een Faurisson, een Le pen of wat dichter bij huis onze ~KUCH ahum~ "eigenste" Siegfried Verbeke...
Zo nemen journalisten als Gideon Levy en Amira Hass vaak hun eigen leiderschap stevig op de korrel & ook mensen als Tom Segev (historicus) & Uri Avnery, ex soldaat, parlementslid & oprichter van de vredesbeweging Gush Shalom sparen hun kritiek niet op de catastrofale beleids(wan)daden van bijna àlle Israëlische politici.
De eigenlijke aanleiding voor dit artikeltje is een filmpje dat we toevallig op de u aller bekende youtube tegenkwamen, waarin de voormalige Amerikaanse veiligheidsadviseur, dhr. Zbigniew Brzezinski (kon de man nu niet gewoon Charel Janssens heten ?!) zijn ongezouten mening tentoon spreidde in het programma "Morning Joe" met de fameuze "rechtsiewinkie" Scarborough als interviewer. Nu is Brzezinski toch niet de minste & men kan hem bezwaarlijk gaan beschuldigen van communistische sympathieën of hem verwijten een geitenwollensokkenvredesapostel te zijn...
We kijken dus eerst maar eens naar dat filmpje:
"Brzezinski Calls Scarborough "Stunningly Superficial" On Israel / Palestine Expertise" duur : 4:36 minuten Morning Joe
't Wordt pas echt interessant zo vanaf 2m15secs, wanneer Scarborough de gebruikelijke tirade begint af te steken waarbij Arafat om het zo uit te drukken met alle zonden Israel's beladen wordt & waarbij men hem nogmaals verwijt dat hij het "gulle aanbod" van Israël rabiaat van de hand wees. Vervolgens dient Brzezinski hem een uppercut toe door te zeggen:
"you know, you have such a stunningly superficial knowledge of what went on that it is almost embarrassing to listen to you."
en wat verder "you are only repeating slogans".
Wij vinden mijnheer Brzezinski dus een intelligente man, want hij denkt zo'n beetje hetzelfde als wij, namelijk dat de vraag niet zo zeer zou dienen te zijn wat er dan wel gedaan dient te worden wanneer Hamas nogmaals een aantal raketten afvuurt op Israël, (of beter, fusées, want meer dan dat zijn het eigenlijk niet), maar wél wat er zou kunnen gebeuren zodat Hamas helemaal géén raketten meer afvuurt...
Met andere woorden, wij vinden dat het eindelijk eens tijd wordt om een aantal vooroordelen of stellingen, of "slogans", zoals mijnheer Brzezinski het noemt te ontkrachten die hardnekkig de ronde blijven doen over dat hele Midden Oosten conflict, echter is dit in Amerika zo "not done" en zo politiek incorrectdat Mika Brzezinski ~inderdaad, dochter van !!~ het blijkbaar erg moeilijk heeft om de gedachtengang van haar papa iets of wat te volgen, gezien ze blijkbaar zin heeft om eens flink met haar kop op 't bureau te bonken...
Nochtans staat zij toch wel bekend als zijnde een gedegen journaliste, met een flink stel "cojones", getuige onderstaand filmpje waarin zij dus het lef heeft ~we zien het Wim De Vilder nog niet zo gauw doen hier~ om live op tv te weigeren een "infotainment" itempje in te leiden waar héél Amerika zit op te wachten en dat dus over Paris Hilton zal gaan... maar blijkbaar heb je in the US of A nog een stel steviger kloten nodig als je eigen papa in een interview kritiek levert op de buitenlandse politiek van de Verenigde Staten, vooral dan waar het Israel aangaat.
"Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC rips Paris report" duur : 3:02 minuten Morning Joe
1. Israel's "generous offer", verworpen door Arafat
Dat fameuze "genereuze aanbod" vanwege Israel aan de Palestijnen waarover Scarborough het heeft, is dus ook niet meer dan een lege doos. Wij gaan hier allemaal niet te veel woorden aan vuilmaken, behalve dan dat Israël eigenlijk helemaal niet wou dat er iets op papier werd gezet (N.V.D.R. : Israel heeft niet eens een grondwet, laat staan dat ze er zouden moeten inzetten dat alle burgers gelijke rechten hebben !!) terwijl Arafat alleen maar vroeg "zet dat allemaal eens op papier, dan kan ik 't meenemen naar mijn achterban & voorleggen".
Wij zouden hiervoor ook graag verwijzen naar de website van Gush Shalom, de Israelische Vredesbeweging die met betrekking tot dit fameuze "genereuze aanbod" de volgende kleine presentatie heeft gemaakt, waarin in een viertal stappen wordt uitgelegd wat dat fameuze aanbod nu precies was:
Kijk kijk kijk... indien dit correct is dan was dat "genereuze aanbod" vanwege Barak aan Arafat toch wel redelijk mager en in zijn plaats zouden wij dat liever ook niet op papier willen zetten, kwestie van toch wat de schijn op te houden.
Anderzijds wordt er door rabiate voorvechters van de exclusief Joodse staat vaak geponeerd dat Gush Shalom communisten zijn, of Joden die een "zelfhaat" hebben ontwikkeld, maar dan stellen wij ons weer de vraag: "Waarom zou Gush Shalom liégen over dit onderwerp?" en "Waar kunnen we dan wél een correct ontwerp bekijken van dat fameuze "genereuze aanbod"?
Noot : Overigens wordt de Israelische Vredesbeweging door veel Israëli's of door andere politieke tegenstanders "communisme" verweten, maar sinds de laatste verkiezingscampagne in de Verenigde Staten weten we dat dit vooral een manier is om geen aandacht te moeten besteden aan de inhoud van hun argumentaties.
2. Hamas breekt de wapenstilstand die van kracht was sinds juni 2008.
Karen Koning Abuzayd, Commissaris-generaal voor de Vluchtelingen van het UNRWA (UNRWA = Relief Works Agency) van de Verenigde naties antwoordt op een vraag van een journalist dat het niét Hamas was dat als eerste de wapenstilstand heeft geschonden.
Het filmpje met het antwoord kunt U hier bekijken:
"Israel or Hamas who broke the truce" duur : 3:32 minuten ...
Volgens een artikel van 5 november in de krant The Guardian was het dus niét Hamas, maar wél Israël dat de wapenstilstand heeft doorbroken door het vermoorden van 6 Hamas militanten.
Gaza truce broken as Israeli raid kills six Hamas gunmen
Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 5 November 2008 14.32 GMT
A man sifts throught rubble after Israel's overnight operation Photograph: Marco Longari/AFP
A four-month ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza was in jeopardy today after Israeli troops killed six Hamas gunmen in a raid into the territory.
Hamas responded by firing a wave of rockets into southern Israel, although no one was injured. The violence represented the most serious break in a ceasefire agreed in mid-June, yet both sides suggested they wanted to return to atmosphere of calm.
Israeli troops crossed into the Gaza Strip late last night near the town of Deir al-Balah. The Israeli military said the target of the raid was a tunnel that they said Hamas was planning to use to capture Israeli soldiers positioned on the border fence 250m away. Four Israeli soldiers were injured in the operation, two moderately and two lightly, the military said.
One Hamas gunman was killed and Palestinians launched a volley of mortars at the Israeli military. An Israeli air strike then killed five more Hamas fighters. In response, Hamas launched 35 rockets into southern Israel, one reaching the city of Ashkelon.
"This was a pinpoint operation intended to prevent an immediate threat," the Israeli military said in a statement. "There is no intention to disrupt the ceasefire, rather the purpose of the operation was to remove an immediate and dangerous threat posted by the Hamas terror organisation."
In Gaza, a Hamas spokesman, Fawzi Barhoum, said the group had fired rockets out of Gaza as a "response to Israel's massive breach of the truce".
"The Israelis began this tension and they must pay an expensive price. They cannot leave us drowning in blood while they sleep soundly in their beds," he said.
The attack comes shortly before a key meeting this Sunday in Cairo when Hamas and its political rival Fatah will hold talks on reconciling their differences and creating a single, unified government. It will be the first time the two sides have met at this level since fighting a near civil war more than a year ago.
Until now it had appeared both Israel and Hamas, which seized full control of Gaza last summer, had an interest in maintaining the ceasefire. For Israel it has meant an end to the daily barrage of rockets landing in southern towns, particularly Sderot. For Gazans it has meant an end to the regular Israeli military raids that have caused hundreds of casualties, many of them civilian, in the past year. Israel, however, has maintained its economic blockade on the strip, severely limiting imports and preventing all exports from Gaza.
Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, had personally approved the Gaza raid, the Associated Press said. The Israeli military concluded that Hamas was likely to want to continue the ceasefire despite the raid, it said. The ceasefire was due to run for six months and it is still unclear whether it will stretch beyond that limit.
Het állerstrafste tegenwoordig is wel dat zelfs CNN een item heeft over het feit dat Israel op 5 November (N.V.D.R. : dus pál op de hype rondom de verkiezing van Barack Obama... - Dus qua timing kan dat al behoorlijk tellen !!) het bestand heeft doorbroken. Dit kunt U hier bekijken :
...& Dat terwijl er in Vlaanderen nauwelijks één serieuze nieuwsbron was die hier melding van heeft gemaakt. Voor zover wij weten hebben ze allemaal gewoon als papegaaien de "officiële" versie gedebiteerd, namelijk dat "Hamas het bestand heeft geschonden"...
Wij gaan hier dus ook weer niet te veel woorden aan vuil maken... volgens dit artikel heeft Israël dus het bestand geschonden en dat is dat.
Wie de zwarte piet krijgt interesseert ons eigenlijk ook niet zo erg, want inhoudelijk brengt het ook weer weinig bij, maar we wilden dit misverstand gewoon graag eventjes rechtgezet zien. Overigens, rechtvaardigt dit het hervatten van de beschietingen vanwege Hamas?
Absoluut niét, maar het is er waarschijnlijk wél de oorzaak van en in die zin begrijpelijk.
Koppel dit aan de volgehouden "sterilisatie" van Gaza door Israel, (één van de voorwaarden van de wapenstilstand was namelijk ook de opheffing van de blokkade en de toelating voor het leveren van humanitaire hulp aan de dik één miljoen Gazanen) waarbij Gaza nog steeds één grote openluchtgevangenis bleef waar niks binnen of buiten kan, en waar meer dan 1 miljoen Palestijnen als ratten in een schoendoos opgesloten zitten op een oppervlakte van 240 km², en U krijgt alle recepten voor een humanitaire ramp en een catastrofe.
Volgens onze bescheiden mening : "als men mensen lang genoeg als beesten behandelt, moet men ook niet verbaasd zijn als die mensen zich uiteindelijk ook als beesten gaan gedragen."
Overigens publiceerde de Israëlische krant Haaretz op 28/12 ook al een interessant artikel...
Last update - 16:39 31/12/2008
Disinformation, secrecy and lies: How the Gaza offensive came about
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent
Long-term preparation, careful gathering of information, secret discussions, operational deception and the misleading of the public - all these stood behind the Israel Defense Forces "Cast Lead" operation against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, which began Saturday morning.
The disinformation effort, according to defense officials, took Hamas by surprise and served to significantly increase the number of its casualties in the strike.
Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago, even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas. According to the sources, Barak maintained that although the lull would allow Hamas to prepare for a showdown with Israel, the Israeli army needed time to prepare, as well. Barak gave orders to carry out a comprehensive intelligence-gathering drive which sought to map out Hamas' security infrastructure, along with that of other militant organizations operating in the Strip.
This intelligence-gathering effort brought back information about permanent bases, weapon silos, training camps, the homes of senior officials and coordinates for other facilities.
The plan of action that was implemented in Operation Cast Lead remained only a blueprint until a month ago, when tensions soared after the IDF carried out an incursion into Gaza during the ceasefire to take out a tunnel which the army said was intended to facilitate an attack by Palestinian militants on IDF troops.
On November 19, following dozens of Qassam rockets and mortar rounds which exploded on Israeli soil, the plan was brought for Barak's final approval. Last Thursday, on December 18, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the defense minister met at IDF headquarters in central Tel Aviv to approve the operation.
However, they decided to put the mission on hold to see whether Hamas would hold its fire after the expiration of the ceasefire. They therefore put off bringing the plan for the cabinet's approval, but they did inform Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni of the developments.
That night, in speaking to the media, sources in the Prime Minister's Bureau said that "if the shooting from Gaza continues, the showdown with Hamas would be inevitable." On the weekend, several ministers in Olmert's cabinet inveighed against him and against Barak for not retaliating for Hamas' Qassam launches.
"This chatter would have made Entebe or the Six Day War impossible," Barak said in responding to the accusations. The cabinet was eventually convened on Wednesday, but the Prime Minister's Bureau misinformed the media in stating the discussion would revolve around global jihad. The ministers learned only that morning that the discussion would actually pertain to the operation in Gaza.
In its summary announcement for the discussion, the Prime Minister's Bureau devoted one line to the situation in Gaza, compared to one whole page that concerned the outlawing of 35 Islamic organizations.
What actually went on at the cabinet meeting was a five-hour discussion about the operation in which ministers were briefed about the various blueprints and plans of action. "It was a very detailed review," one minister said.
The minister added: "Everyone fully understood what sort of period we were heading into and what sort of scenarios this could lead to. No one could say that he or she did not know what they were voting on." The minister also said that the discussion showed that the lessons of the Winograd Committee about the performance of decision-makers during the 2006 Second Lebanon War were "fully internalized."
At the end of the discussion, the ministers unanimously voted in favor of the strike, leaving it for the prime minister, the defense minister and the foreign minister to work out the exact time.
While Barak was working out the final details with the officers responsible for the operation, Livni went to Cairo to inform Egypt's president, Hosni Mubarak, that Israel had decided to strike at Hamas.
In parallel, Israel continued to send out disinformation in announcing it would open the crossings to the Gaza Strip and that Olmert would decide whether to launch the strike following three more deliberations on Sunday - one day after the actual order to launch the operation was issued.
"Hamas evacuated all its headquarter personnel after the cabinet meeting on Wednesday," one defense official said, "but the organization sent its people back in when they heard that everything was put on hold until Sunday."
The final decision was made on Friday morning, when Barak met with Chief of Staff General Gabi Ashkenazi, the head of the Shin Bet Security Service Yuval Diskin and the head of the Military Intelligence Directorate, Amos Yadlin. Barak sat down with Olmert and Livni several hours later for a final meeting, in which the trio gave the air force its orders.
On Friday night and on Saturday morning, opposition leaders and prominent political figures were informed about the impending strike, including Likud chairman Benjamin Netanyahu, Yisrael Beuiteinu's Avigdor Liebermen, Haim Oron from Meretz and President Shimon Peres, along with Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik.
waarin melding wordt gemaakt van het feit dat Barak al in de zomer de opdracht gaf om te beginnen met de voorbereidselen voor een langdurig offensief in Gaza.
Het ziet er dus naar uit dat Israël toen reeds helemaal geen zin had om zich lang te houden aan dat fameuze "staakt-het-vuren".
3. Hamas is een terreurorganisatie waarmee niet gepraat mag worden.
Dit is natuurlijk ongelooflijk flauwe zever, want uiteindelijk zal er met Hamas moéten gepraat worden. Het -overigens katholieke- IRA was ook een terroristische organisatie, die een pak méér schade berokkend heeft dan Hamas, en daar heeft Tony Blair toch ook maar mooi aan tafel gezeten met o.m. Gerry Adams en Martin McGuinness.
Het IRA was bovendien een volledig ondergrondse clandestiene organisatie, terwijl Hamas eigenlijk eerst een sociale organisatie was, die zich vooral bekommerde om het sociale welzijn van veel gewone Palestijnen, die zich in de steek gelaten voelden door de Palestijnse -ahum- "elite".
In dit licht is het overigens toch wel interessant om Hamas zelf eens te bekijken van wat dichterbij. Om het simpel te houden beginnen wij dus gewoon bij wikipedia http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamas
en daarin staat o.m. het volgende te lezen:
"Begin jaren '80 genoten sjeik Yassin (Hamas oprichter en leider) en zijn aanhangers steun van de Israëlische overheid. De voorloper van de Hamas opereerde voornamelijk op sociaal gebied en toen de geestelijke subsidie vroeg werd die met gulle hand verstrekt. De Israëlische overheid dacht wellicht in hem een bondgenoot te hebben in hun strijd tegen de terreur, die destijds voornamelijk van de PLO kwam. Ook werd Yassin meerdere malen medisch behandeld in Israël.
Met de ingang van de eerste Palestijnse intifada (1987-1993) veranderde het karakter en naam van de beweging. Palestijnse collaborateurs of verdachten van collaboratie werden door de Hamas geliquideerd. Na de ondertekening van de Oslo-akkoorden en het demonstratieve bezoek van premier Ariel Sharon aan de Tempelberg in 2000 brak de al-Aqsa Intifada uit. Yassin was tegen de Oslo-akkoorden omdat die geen garantie boden voor de terugkeer van wegens het Israëlische geweld gevluchte Palestijnen.
Hamas, de Islamitische Jihad en de al-Aqsa Martelaren Brigades van de Fatah-beweging opereren vanuit de bezette gebieden en Zuid-Libanon. Regelmatig vuren de Palestijnen Qassam-raketten af op Israëlische stellingen en legereenheden die in Israëlische grensdorpen als Sderot gelegerd zijn, waarbij soms ook Israëlische burgers om het leven komen.
Hamas erkent indirect Israël door akkoord te gaan met delen van het gevangenendocument en onderhandelingen met Israël."
Dit is allemaal toch wel interessante lectuur.
Hamas werd dus, samengevat, opgericht als een sociale organisatie (zo'n beetje zoals onze syndicaten hoewel sommigen deze maar al te graag als terreurorganisaties bestempeld zouden willen zien), die gesteund werd door Israël aangezien Israël dacht dat het hiermee een goeie oude "verdeel en heers" politiek kon uitoefenen en de PLO van Yasser Arafat verzwakken.
Erg interessant is ook de entry die we terugvonden op de website van het Council on Foreign Relations & aangezien wij ons lezerspubliek wel hoog aanslaan, weten wij intussen al wel dat u wel vanzelf een kijkje zult gaan nemen & dus gaan wij hier verder ook niet veel meer woorden aan vuil maken, behalve dan de volgende korte stukjes voor de mensen die maar efkens tijd hebben... zo effe tussen de soep en de kroketjes...
"Is Hamas only a terrorist group ?
No. In addition to its military wing, the so-called Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigade, Hamas devotes much of its estimated $70-million annual budget to an extensive social services network. It funds schools, orphanages, mosques, healthcare clinics, soup kitchens, and sports leagues. "Approximately 90 percent of its work is in social, welfare, cultural, and educational activities," writes the Israeli scholar Reuven Paz. The Palestinian Authority often fails to provide such services; Hamas's efforts in this areaas well as a reputation for honesty, in contrast to the many Fatah officials accused of corruptionhelp to explain the broad popularity it summoned to defeat Fatah in the PA's recent elections.
The first Hamas suicide bombing took place in April 1993. Five months later, Yasir Arafat, the then-leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and Yitzhak Rabin, then-prime minister of Israel, sealed the Oslo accordsan Israeli-Palestinian peace pact that eventually unraveled. Rabin was assassinated by an Israeli right-wing fanatic in November 1995. Arafat died in November 2004."
4. Hamas krijgt steun, wapens, financiële middelen en opleiding in en vanuit Iran.
Logisch toch ?!... Wanneer de VS Israël jaarlijks voor 4 miljard dollar subsidieert aan wapens en militair materiaal, waarom is het dan zo onaanvaardbaar of onbegrijpelijk voor ons om te vatten dat Hamas steun krijgt van verschillende andere regionale spelers ?!... Hiermee viseert men op dit ogenblik vooral Iran, maar Iran doet hier eigenlijk niets anders dan dezelfde politiek overnemen die de USA al sedert decennia hebben toegepast in allerlei soorten conflictgebieden, van Afghanistan, waar zij de -jawel- taliban steunden, tot de doodseskaders en de zgn. contra's in Nicaragua. Maar natuurlijk zoeken de Amerikaanse NeoCons vooral naar nog een (drog)reden, of beter, aan aanleiding om een nieuwe oorlog te beginnen met een land dat eigenlijk nog nooit iemand heeft kwaad berokkend.
In een interview op het mesjogge Fox news herhaalt de volgens ons totaal geschifte en compleet kierewiete John Bolton (ex ambassadeur van de Verenigde Staten bij de UNO) nogmaals dat Amerika Iran hoogdringend moet gaan aanvallen en ook dat de VS Iran reeds lang hadden moeten aanvallen.
"I would use Military Force against Iran Now! John Bolton" duur : 6:24 minuten Fox News
Overigens deed het ons bijzonder veel genoegen om Bolton in een ander youtube filmpje een paar fikse uppercuts te zien incasseren, toegebracht door o.m. Tony Benn...
...& aangezien wij U dit niet willen onthouden zetten we het er maar meteen bij
"John Bolton Grilled On BBC" duur : 5:12 minuten ...
Maar terug nu naar de kern van de zaak.
Want ja, zoals Bolton het stelt (& samen met hem alle andere haviken die het liefst nóg zo'n ellendige oorlog zouden willen beginnen waaronder uiteraard onze eigen Crembo) die president Ahmadinejad is naar het schijnt een genocidaire maniak, een nieuwe Hitler, zoals er blijkbaar al velen vóór hem de "Nieuwe Hitler" geweest zijn.
Olmert compares Ahmadinejad to Hitler
Published: 04.29.06, 12:17 / Israel News
In interview with German newspaper Bild, acting Prime Minister says Iranian president a psychopath of the worst kind who speaks as Hitler did in his time of exterminating the entire Jewish nation; adds that West will make certain Iran doesnt reach position in which it will be capable of holding unconventional weapons
In a recent interview with German daily Bild Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert launched a scathing attack against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, referring to the Iranian president as a psychopath and comparing him to Adolf Hitler.
He is a psychopath of the worst kind, Olmert was quoted by the newspaper as saying.
He speaks as Hitler did in his time of the extermination of the entire Jewish nation.
According to Olmert, this is the reason Iran must be prevented from furthering developing its nuclear program.
When asked whether he believes Iran will be attacked, Olmert said this is a sensitive question. The West, under the United States leadership, will make certain that Iran does not reach a position in which it will be capable of holding unconventional weapons.
However, Olmert added I suppose Ahmadinejad will never be as dangerous and destructive as Hitler. Apparently he will never be able to realize his threats.
On Friday the International Atomic Energy Agency said that Iran has defied a U.N. Security Council call for a freeze on enriching uranium and its lack of cooperation with nuclear inspectors was a "matter of concern."
U.S. President George W. Bush said Friday "the world is united and concerned" about what he called Iran's "desire to have not only a nuclear weapon but the capacity to make a nuclear weapon or the knowledge to make a nuclear weapon."
Bush said he was not discouraged by Iran's vow to continue despite global pressure, and while he has refused to rule out the possibility of military action against Iran, he emphasized the pursuit of diplomatic efforts.
"I think the diplomatic options are just beginning," he said in Washington.
As to the Hamas government, Olmert told the German newspaper that it is not only a threat but also an opportunity for Israel to offer the international community a better understanding of the regional situation. The acting PM referred to the recent terror attack in Tel Aviv, which Hamas said was an act of self defense.
'We will never forget'
Olmert defended his decision not to respond harshly to the attack, adding that he is resolved to continue the war on terror.
During the interview Olmert expressed his admiration for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, saying Germany has learned the lessons of the past.
Merkel is an amazing woman, very experienced in international politics. The role (chancellor) is a very sensitive one due to the historic responsibility that lies with Germany, especially with regards to the Jewish people, he said.
Olmert said Germany is contributing to the uncompromising battle against those that threaten global peace, such as the Palestinian terror organizations.
However, Olmert said regarding the Holocaust we will never forget and never forgive, adding that nothing can diminish from the German nations responsibility for its actions.
You can always tell when the War Party wants a new war. They will invariably trot out the Argumentum ad Hitlerum.
Before the 1991 Gulf War, Saddam had become "the Hitler of Arabia," though he had only conquered a sandbox half the size of Denmark. Milosevic then became the "Hitler of the Balkans," though he had lost Slovenia, Croatia and Macedonia, was struggling to hold Bosnia and Kosovo, and had defeated no one.
Comes now the new Hitler.
"This is 1935, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is as close to Adolf Hitler as we've seen," said Newt Gingrich to a startled editor at Human Events.
"We now know who they are the question is who are we. Are we Baldwin or Churchill?"
"In 1935 ... Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini intimidated the democracies," Newt plunged ahead. "The question is who is going to intimidate who." Yes, a little learning can be a dangerous thing.
A few facts. First, when Hitler violated the Versailles Treaty by announcing rearmament in March 1935, Baldwin was not in power. Second, Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald quickly met with Il Duce to form the Stresa Front against Hitler. Third, when Mussolini invaded Abyssinia in October 1935, Baldwin imposed sanctions.
But Churchill did not wholly approve.
Abyssinia, said Churchill, is a "wild land of tyranny, slavery and tribal war ... No one can keep up the pretense that Abyssinia is a fit, worthy and equal member of a league of civilized nations."
As late as 1938, Churchill was still proclaiming the greatness of Il Duce: "It would be a dangerous folly for the British people to underrate the enduring position in world history which Mussolini will hold; or the amazing qualities of courage, comprehension, self-control and perseverance which he exemplifies."
But back to the new Hitler.
The Iranians, said Newt, "have been proactively at war with us since 1979." We must now prepare to invade and occupy Iran, and identify a "network of Iranians prepared to run their ... country" after we take the place over.
"I wake up every morning thinking we could lose two major cities today and have the equivalent of the second Holocaust by nuclear weapons this morning."
What about diplomacy?
"We should say to the Europeans that there is no diplomatic solution that is imaginable that is going to solve this problem." Newt's reasoning: War is inevitable the longer we wait, the graver the risk. Let's get it over with. Bismarck called this committing suicide out of fear of death.
My own sense of this astonishing interview is that Newt is trying to get to the right of John McCain on Iran and cast himself drum roll, please as the Churchill of our generation.
But are the comparisons of Ahmadinejad with Hitler and Iran with the Third Reich, let alone Newt with Churchill, instructive? Or are they ludicrous? Again, a few facts.
In 1942, Hitler's armies dominated Europe from the Pyrenees to the Urals. Ahmadinejad is the president of a nation whose air and naval forces would be toasted in hours by the United States. Iran has missiles that can hit Israel, but no nuclear warheads. Israel could put scores of atom bombs on Iran. The United States, without losing a plane, could make the country uninhabitable with one B-2 flyover and a few MX and Trident missiles.
Why would Ayatollah Khameinei, who has far more power than Ahmadinejad, permit him to ignite a war that could mean the end of their revolution and country? And if we were not intimidated by a USSR with thousands of nuclear warheads targeted on us, why should Ahmadinejad cause Newt to break out in cold sweats at night?
Currently, the "nuclear program" of Iran consists of trying to run uranium hexafluoride gas through a few centrifuges. There is no hard evidence Iran is within three years of producing enough highly enriched uranium for one bomb.
And if Iran has been at war with us since 1979, why has it done so much less damage than Gadhafi, who blew up that discotheque in Berlin with our soldiers inside and massacred those American kids on Pan Am 103? Diplomacy worked with Gadhafi. Why not try it with Iran?
Yet, Newt and the War Party appear to be pushing against an open door. A Fox News poll finds Iran has replaced North Korea as the nation Americans believe is our greatest immediate danger. And a Washington Post polls finds 56 percent of Americans backing military action to ensure Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon.
Instead of whining about how they were misled into Iraq, why don't Democrats try to stop this new war before it starts? They can begin by introducing a resolution in Congress denying Bush authority to launch any preventive war on Iran, unless Congress first declares war on Iran.
Isn't that what the Constitution says?
Before we go to war, let's have a debate of whether we need to go to war.
...& Ook Robert Fisk schreef in de aanloop naar de Irak oorlog een flinke brok over het fenomeen waarbij we iedereen die niet in blinde adoratie op de knieën valt maar meteen nieuwe Hitlers gaan noemen.
Monday, 27 January 2003
Robert Fisk: The wartime deceptions: Saddam is Hitler and it's not about oil
The Israeli writer Uri Avnery once delivered a wickedly sharp open letter to Menachem Begin, the Israeli prime minister who sent his army to defeat in Lebanon.
The Israeli writer Uri Avnery once delivered a wickedly sharp open letter to Menachem Begin, the Israeli prime minister who sent his army to defeat in Lebanon. Enraged by Begin's constant evocation of the Second World War likening Yasser Arafat in Beirut to Hitler in his Berlin bunker in 1945 Avnery entitled his letter: "Mr Prime Minister, Hitler is Dead."
How often I have wanted to repeat his advice to Bush and Blair. Obsessed with their own demonisation of Saddam Hussein, both are now reminding us of the price of appeasement. Bush thinks that he is the Churchill of America, refusing the appeasement of Saddam. Now the US ambassador to the European Union, Rockwell Schnabel, has compared Saddam to Hitler. "You had Hitler in Europe and no one really did anything about him," Schnabel lectured the Europeans in Brussels a week ago: "We knew he could be dangerous but nothing was done. The same type of person [is in Baghdad] and it's there that our concern lies." Mr Schnabel ended this infantile parallel by adding unconvincingly that "this has nothing to do with oil".
How can the sane human being react to this pitiful stuff? One of the principal nations which "did nothing about Hitler" was the US, which enjoyed a profitable period of neutrality in 1939 and 1940 and most of 1941 until it was attacked by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor. And when the Churchill-Roosevelt alliance decided that it would only accept Germany's unconditional surrender a demand that shocked even Churchill when Roosevelt suddenly announced the terms at Casablanca Hitler was doomed.
Not so Saddam it seems. For last week Donald Rumsfeld offered the Hitler of Baghdad a way out: exile, with a suitcase full of cash and an armful of family members if that is what he wished. Funny, but I don't recall Churchill or Roosevelt ever suggesting that the Nazi führer should be allowed to escape. Saddam is Hitler but then suddenly, he's not Hitler after all. He is said TheNew York Times to be put before a war crimes tribunal. But then he's not. He can scoot off to Saudi Arabia or Latin America. In other words, he's not Hitler.
But even if he were, are we prepared to pay the price of so promiscuous a war? Arabs who admire Saddam and there are plenty in Jordan believe Iraq cannot hold out for more than a week. Some are convinced the US 3rd Infantry Division will be in Baghdad in three days, the British with them. It's a fair bet that hundreds, if not thousands, of Iraqis will die. But in the civil unrest that follows, what are we going to do? Are American and British troops to defend the homes of Baath party officials whom the mobs want to hang?
Far more seriously, what happens after that? What do we do when Iraqis not ex-Baathists but anti-Saddam Iraqis demand our withdrawal? For be sure this will happen. In the Shia mosques of Kerbala and An Najaf, they are not going to welcome Anglo-American forces. The Kurds will want a price for their co-operation. A state perhaps? A federation? The Sunnis will need our protection. They will also, in due time, demand our withdrawal. Iraq is a tough, violent state and General Tommy Franks is no General MacArthur.
For we will be in occupation of a foreign land. We will be in occupation of Iraq as surely as Israel is in occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. And with Saddam gone, the way is open for Osama bin Laden to demand the liberation of Iraq as another of his objectives. How easily he will be able to slot Iraq into the fabric of American occupation across the Gulf. Are we then ready to fight al-Qa'ida in Iraq as well as in Afghanistan and Pakistan and countless other countries? It seems that the peoples of the Middle East and the West realise these dangers, but that their leaders do not, or do not want to.
Travelling to the US more than once a month, visiting Britain at the weekend, moving around the Middle East, I have never been so struck by the absolute, unwavering determination of so many Arabs and Europeans and Americans to oppose a war. Did Tony Blair really need that gloriously pertinacious student at the Labour Party meeting on Friday to prove to him what so many Britons feel: that this proposed Iraqi war is a lie, that the reasons for this conflict have nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction, that Blair has no business following Bush into the America-Israeli war? Never before have I received so many readers' letters expressing exactly the same sentiment: that somehow because of Labour's huge majority, because of the Tory party's effective disappearance as an opposition, because of parliamentary cynicism British democracy is not permitting British people to stop a war for which most of them have nothing but contempt. From Washington's pathetic attempt to link Saddam to al-Qa'ida, to Blair's childish "dossier" on weapons of mass destruction, to the whole tragic farce of UN inspections, people are just no longer fooled.
The denials that this war has anything to do with oil are as unconvincing as Colin Powell's claim last week that Iraq's oil would be held in trusteeship for the Iraqi people. Trusteeship was exactly what the League of Nations offered the Levant when it allowed Britain and France to adopt mandates in Palestine and Transjordan and Syria and Lebanon after the First World War. Who will run the oil wells and explore Iraqi oil reserves during this generous period of trusteeship? American companies, perhaps? No, people are not fooled.
Take the inspectors. George Bush and Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld and now, alas, Colin Powell don't want to give the inspectors more time. Why not, for God's sake? Let's just go back to 12 September last year when Bush, wallowing in the nostalgia of the 11 September 2001 crimes against humanity, demanded that the UN act. It must send its inspectors back to Iraq. They must resume their work. They must complete their work. Bush, of course, was hoping that Iraq would refuse to let the inspectors return. Horrifically, Iraq welcomed the UN. Bush was waiting for the inspectors to find hidden weapons. Terrifyingly, they found none. They are still looking. And that is the last thing Bush wants. Bush said he was "sick and tired" of Saddam's trickery when what he meant was that he was sick and tired of waiting for the UN inspectors to find the weapons that will allow America to go to war. He who wanted so much to get the inspectors back to work now doesn't want them to work. "Time is running out," Bush said last week. He was talking about Saddam but he was actually referring to the UN inspectors, in fact to the whole UN institution so laboriously established after the Second World War by his own country.
The only other nation pushing for war save for the ever-grateful Kuwait is Israel. Listen to the words of Zalman Shoval, Israeli Prime Minster Ariel Sharon's foreign affairs adviser, last week. Israel, he said, would "pay dearly" for a "long deferral" of an American strike on Iraq. "If the attack were to be postponed on political rather than military grounds," he said, "we will have every reason in Israel to fear that Saddam Hussein uses this delay to develop non-conventional weapons." As long as Saddam was not sidelined, it would be difficult to convince the Palestinian leadership that violence didn't pay and that it should be replaced by a new administration; Arafat would use such a delay "to intensify terrorist attacks".
Note how the savage Israeli-Palestinian war can only according to the Shoval thesis be resolved if America invades Iraq; how terrorism cannot be ended in Israel until the US destroys Saddam. There can be no regime change for the Palestinians until there is regime change in Baghdad. By going along with the Bush drive to war, Blair is, indirectly, supporting Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza (since Israel still claims to be fighting America's "war on terror" against Arafat). Does Blair believe Britons haven't grasped this? Does he think Britons are stupid? A quarter of the British Army is sent to fight in a war that 80 per cent of Britons oppose. How soon before we see real people power 500,000 protesters or more in London, Manchester and other cities to oppose this folly?
Yes an essential part of any such argument Saddam is a cruel, ruthless dictator, not unlike the Dear Leader of North Korea, the nuclear megalomaniac with whom the Americans have been having "excellent" discussions but who doesn't have oil. How typical of Saddam to send Ali "Chemical" Majid the war criminal who gassed the Kurds of Halabja to tour Arab capitals last week, to sit with President Bashar Assad of Syria and President Emile Lahoud of Lebanon as if he never ordered the slaughter of women and children. But Bush and Blair said nothing about Majid's tour either so as not to offend the Arab leaders who met him or because the link between gas, war crimes and Washington's original support for Saddam is a sensitive issue.
Instead, we are deluged with more threats from Washington about "states that sponsor terror". Western journalists play a leading role in this propaganda. Take Eric Schmitt in TheNew York Times a week ago. He wrote a story about America's decision to "confront countries that sponsor terrorism". And his sources? "Senior defence officials", "administration officials", "some American intelligence officials", "the officials", "officials", "military officials", "terrorist experts" and "defence officials". Why not just let the Pentagon write its own reports in TheNew York Times?
But that is what is changing. More and more Americans aware that their President declined to serve his country in Vietnam realise that their newspapers are lying to them and acting as a conduit for the US government alone. More and more Britons are tired of being told to go to war by their newspapers and television stations and politicians. Indeed, I'd guess that far more Britons are represented today by the policies of President Chirac of France than Prime Minister Blair of Britain.
Volgens de vermaarde onderzoeksjournalist Seymour Hersh
is Hitler ook het koosnaampje dat gebruikt wordt op stafvergaderingen als het over Ahmadinejad gaat
Een artikel uit de alom bekende "The New Yorker"
Annals of National Security
The Iran Plans
Would President Bush go to war to stop Tehran from getting the bomb?
by Seymour M. Hersh
April 17, 2006
The Bush Administration, while publicly advocating diplomacy in order to stop Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon, has increased clandestine activities inside Iran and intensified planning for a possible major air attack. Current and former American military and intelligence officials said that Air Force planning groups are drawing up lists of targets, and teams of American combat troops have been ordered into Iran, under cover, to collect targeting data and to establish contact with anti-government ethnic-minority groups. The officials say that President Bush is determined to deny the Iranian regime the opportunity to begin a pilot program, planned for this spring, to enrich uranium.
American and European intelligence agencies, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (I.A.E.A.), agree that Iran is intent on developing the capability to produce nuclear weapons. But there are widely differing estimates of how long that will take, and whether diplomacy, sanctions, or military action is the best way to prevent it. Iran insists that its research is for peaceful use only, in keeping with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and that it will not be delayed or deterred.
There is a growing conviction among members of the United States military, and in the international community, that President Bushs ultimate goal in the nuclear confrontation with Iran is regime change. Irans President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has challenged the reality of the Holocaust and said that Israel must be wiped off the map. Bush and others in the White House view him as a potential Adolf Hitler, a former senior intelligence official said. Thats the name theyre using. They say, Will Iran get a strategic weapon and threaten another world war?
A government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon said that Bush was absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb if it is not stopped. He said that the President believes that he must do what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do, and that saving Iran is going to be his legacy.
One former defense official, who still deals with sensitive issues for the Bush Administration, told me that the military planning was premised on a belief that a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government. He added, I was shocked when I heard it, and asked myself, What are they smoking?
The rationale for regime change was articulated in early March by Patrick Clawson, an Iran expert who is the deputy director for research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and who has been a supporter of President Bush. So long as Iran has an Islamic republic, it will have a nuclear-weapons program, at least clandestinely, Clawson told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on March 2nd. The key issue, therefore, is: How long will the present Iranian regime last?
When I spoke to Clawson, he emphasized that this Administration is putting a lot of effort into diplomacy. However, he added, Iran had no choice other than to accede to Americas demands or face a military attack. Clawson said that he fears that Ahmadinejad sees the West as wimps and thinks we will eventually cave in. We have to be ready to deal with Iran if the crisis escalates. Clawson said that he would prefer to rely on sabotage and other clandestine activities, such as industrial accidents. But, he said, it would be prudent to prepare for a wider war, given the way the Iranians are acting. This is not like planning to invade Quebec.
One military planner told me that White House criticisms of Iran and the high tempo of planning and clandestine activities amount to a campaign of coercion aimed at Iran. You have to be ready to go, and well see how they respond, the officer said. You have to really show a threat in order to get Ahmadinejad to back down. He added, People think Bush has been focussed on Saddam Hussein since 9/11, but, in my view, if you had to name one nation that was his focus all the way along, it was Iran. (In response to detailed requests for comment, the White House said that it would not comment on military planning but added, As the President has indicated, we are pursuing a diplomatic solution; the Defense Department also said that Iran was being dealt with through diplomatic channels but wouldnt elaborate on that; the C.I.A. said that there were inaccuracies in this account but would not specify them.)
This is much more than a nuclear issue, one high-ranking diplomat told me in Vienna. Thats just a rallying point, and there is still time to fix it. But the Administration believes it cannot be fixed unless they control the hearts and minds of Iran. The real issue is who is going to control the Middle East and its oil in the next ten years.
A senior Pentagon adviser on the war on terror expressed a similar view. This White House believes that the only way to solve the problem is to change the power structure in Iran, and that means war, he said. The danger, he said, was that it also reinforces the belief inside Iran that the only way to defend the country is to have a nuclear capability. A military conflict that destabilized the region could also increase the risk of terror: Hezbollah comes into play, the adviser said, referring to the terror group that is considered one of the worlds most successful, and which is now a Lebanese political party with strong ties to Iran. And here comes Al Qaeda.
In recent weeks, the President has quietly initiated a series of talks on plans for Iran with a few key senators and members of Congress, including at least one Democrat. A senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, who did not take part in the meetings but has discussed their content with his colleagues, told me that there had been no formal briefings, because theyre reluctant to brief the minority. Theyre doing the Senate, somewhat selectively.
The House member said that no one in the meetings is really objecting to the talk of war. The people theyre briefing are the same ones who led the charge on Iraq. At most, questions are raised: How are you going to hit all the sites at once? How are you going to get deep enough? (Iran is building facilities underground.) Theres no pressure from Congress not to take military action, the House member added. The only political pressure is from the guys who want to do it. Speaking of President Bush, the House member said, The most worrisome thing is that this guy has a messianic vision.
The planning is enormous, the former senior intelligence official said, referring to the activity at the U.S. Central Command headquarters, in Florida; the Joint Warfare Analysis Center, in Virginia; and the U.S. Strategic Command, in Nebraska. Space assets, SLBMssubmarine-launched ballistic missilestactical air, and sabotage, coöperation from the Turks and the Russians. He added that the plans include significant air attacks on their countermeasures and anti-aircraft missilesa huge takedown. He depicted the planning as hectic, and far beyond the contingency work that is routinely done. These are operational plans, the former official said.
Some operations, apparently aimed in part at intimidating Iran, are already under way. American Naval tactical aircraft, operating from carriers in the Arabian Sea, have been flying simulated nuclear-weapons delivery missionsrapid ascending maneuvers known as over the shoulder bombingsince last summer, the former official said, within range of Iranian coastal radars.
Last month, in a paper given at a conference on Middle East security in Berlin, Colonel Sam Gardiner, a military analyst who taught at the National War College before retiring from the Air Force, in 1987, provided an estimate of what would be needed to destroy Irans nuclear program. Working from satellite photographs of the known facilities, Gardiner estimated that at least four hundred targets would have to be hit. He added:
"I dont think a U.S. military planner would want to stop there. Iran probably has two chemical-production plants. We would hit those. We would want to hit the medium-range ballistic missiles that have just recently been moved closer to Iraq. There are fourteen airfields with sheltered aircraft. . . . Wed want to get rid of that threat. We would want to hit the assets that could be used to threaten Gulf shipping. That means targeting the cruise-missile sites and the Iranian diesel submarines. . . . Some of the facilities may be too difficult to target even with penetrating weapons. The U.S. will have to use Special Operations units. "
One of the militarys initial option plans, as presented to the White House by the Pentagon this winter, calls for the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, against underground nuclear sites. One target is Irans main centrifuge plant, at Natanz, nearly two hundred miles south of Tehran. Natanz, which is no longer under I.A.E.A. safeguards, reportedly has underground floor space to hold fifty thousand centrifuges, and laboratories and workspaces buried approximately seventy-five feet beneath the surface. That number of centrifuges could provide enough enriched uranium for about twenty nuclear warheads a year. (Iran has acknowledged that it initially kept the existence of its enrichment program hidden from I.A.E.A. inspectors, but claims that none of its current activity is barred by the Non-Proliferation Treaty.) The elimination of Natanz would be a major setback for Irans nuclear ambitions, but the conventional weapons in the American arsenal could not insure the destruction of facilities under seventy-five feet of earth and rock, especially if they are reinforced with concrete.
There is a Cold War precedent for targeting deep underground bunkers with nuclear weapons. In the early nineteen-eighties, the American intelligence community watched as the Soviet government began digging a huge underground complex outside Moscow. Analysts concluded that the underground facility was designed for continuity of governmentfor the political and military leadership to survive a nuclear war. (There are similar facilities, in Virginia and Pennsylvania, for the American leadership.) The Soviet facility still exists, and much of what the U.S. knows about it remains classified. The tell the giveawaywas the ventilator shafts, some of which were disguised, the former senior intelligence official told me. At the time, he said, it was determined that only nukes could destroy the bunker. He added that some American intelligence analysts believe that the Russians helped the Iranians design their underground facility. We see a similarity of design, specifically in the ventilator shafts, he said.
A former high-level Defense Department official told me that, in his view, even limited bombing would allow the U.S. to go in there and do enough damage to slow down the nuclear infrastructureits feasible. The former defense official said, The Iranians dont have friends, and we can tell them that, if necessary, well keep knocking back their infrastructure. The United States should act like were ready to go. He added, We dont have to knock down all of their air defenses. Our stealth bombers and standoff missiles really work, and we can blow fixed things up. We can do things on the ground, too, but its difficult and very dangerousput bad stuff in ventilator shafts and put them to sleep.
But those who are familiar with the Soviet bunker, according to the former senior intelligence official, say No way. Youve got to know whats underneathto know which ventilator feeds people, or diesel generators, or which are false. And theres a lot that we dont know. The lack of reliable intelligence leaves military planners, given the goal of totally destroying the sites, little choice but to consider the use of tactical nuclear weapons. Every other option, in the view of the nuclear weaponeers, would leave a gap, the former senior intelligence official said. Decisive is the key word of the Air Forces planning. Its a tough decision. But we made it in Japan.
He went on, Nuclear planners go through extensive training and learn the technical details of damage and falloutwere talking about mushroom clouds, radiation, mass casualties, and contamination over years. This is not an underground nuclear test, where all you see is the earth raised a little bit. These politicians dont have a clue, and whenever anybody tries to get it outremove the nuclear optiontheyre shouted down.
The attention given to the nuclear option has created serious misgivings inside the offices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he added, and some officers have talked about resigning. Late this winter, the Joint Chiefs of Staff sought to remove the nuclear option from the evolving war plans for Iranwithout success, the former intelligence official said. The White House said, Why are you challenging this? The option came from you.
The Pentagon adviser on the war on terror confirmed that some in the Administration were looking seriously at this option, which he linked to a resurgence of interest in tactical nuclear weapons among Pentagon civilians and in policy circles. He called it a juggernaut that has to be stopped. He also confirmed that some senior officers and officials were considering resigning over the issue. There are very strong sentiments within the military against brandishing nuclear weapons against other countries, the adviser told me. This goes to high levels. The matter may soon reach a decisive point, he said, because the Joint Chiefs had agreed to give President Bush a formal recommendation stating that they are strongly opposed to considering the nuclear option for Iran. The internal debate on this has hardened in recent weeks, the adviser said. And, if senior Pentagon officers express their opposition to the use of offensive nuclear weapons, then it will never happen.
The adviser added, however, that the idea of using tactical nuclear weapons in such situations has gained support from the Defense Science Board, an advisory panel whose members are selected by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Theyre telling the Pentagon that we can build the B61 with more blast and less radiation, he said.
The chairman of the Defense Science Board is William Schneider, Jr., an Under-Secretary of State in the Reagan Administration. In January, 2001, as President Bush prepared to take office, Schneider served on an ad-hoc panel on nuclear forces sponsored by the National Institute for Public Policy, a conservative think tank. The panels report recommended treating tactical nuclear weapons as an essential part of the U.S. arsenal and noted their suitability for those occasions when the certain and prompt destruction of high priority targets is essential and beyond the promise of conventional weapons. Several signers of the report are now prominent members of the Bush Administration, including Stephen Hadley, the national-security adviser; Stephen Cambone, the Under-Secretary of Defense for Intelligence; and Robert Joseph, the Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security.
The Pentagon adviser questioned the value of air strikes. The Iranians have distributed their nuclear activity very well, and we have no clue where some of the key stuff is. It could even be out of the country, he said. He warned, as did many others, that bombing Iran could provoke a chain reaction of attacks on American facilities and citizens throughout the world: What will 1.2 billion Muslims think the day we attack Iran?
With or without the nuclear option, the list of targets may inevitably expand. One recently retired high-level Bush Administration official, who is also an expert on war planning, told me that he would have vigorously argued against an air attack on Iran, because Iran is a much tougher target than Iraq. But, he added, If youre going to do any bombing to stop the nukes, you might as well improve your lie across the board. Maybe hit some training camps, and clear up a lot of other problems.
The Pentagon adviser said that, in the event of an attack, the Air Force intended to strike many hundreds of targets in Iran but that ninety-nine per cent of them have nothing to do with proliferation. There are people who believe its the way to operatethat the Administration can achieve its policy goals in Iran with a bombing campaign, an idea that has been supported by neoconservatives.
If the order were to be given for an attack, the American combat troops now operating in Iran would be in position to mark the critical targets with laser beams, to insure bombing accuracy and to minimize civilian casualties. As of early winter, I was told by the government consultant with close ties to civilians in the Pentagon, the units were also working with minority groups in Iran, including the Azeris, in the north, the Baluchis, in the southeast, and the Kurds, in the northeast. The troops are studying the terrain, and giving away walking-around money to ethnic tribes, and recruiting scouts from local tribes and shepherds, the consultant said. One goal is to get eyes on the groundquoting a line from Othello, he said, Give me the ocular proof. The broader aim, the consultant said, is to encourage ethnic tensions and undermine the regime.
The new mission for the combat troops is a product of Defense Secretary Rumsfelds long-standing interest in expanding the role of the military in covert operations, which was made official policy in the Pentagons Quadrennial Defense Review, published in February. Such activities, if conducted by C.I.A. operatives, would need a Presidential Finding and would have to be reported to key members of Congress.
Force protection is the new buzzword, the former senior intelligence official told me. He was referring to the Pentagons position that clandestine activities that can be broadly classified as preparing the battlefield or protecting troops are military, not intelligence, operations, and are therefore not subject to congressional oversight. The guys in the Joint Chiefs of Staff say there are a lot of uncertainties in Iran, he said. We need to have more than what we had in Iraq. Now we have the green light to do everything we want.
The Presidents deep distrust of Ahmadinejad has strengthened his determination to confront Iran. This view has been reinforced by allegations that Ahmadinejad, who joined a special-forces brigade of the Revolutionary Guards in 1986, may have been involved in terrorist activities in the late eighties. (There are gaps in Ahmadinejads official biography in this period.) Ahmadinejad has reportedly been connected to Imad Mughniyeh, a terrorist who has been implicated in the deadly bombings of the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, in 1983. Mughniyeh was then the security chief of Hezbollah; he remains on the F.B.I.s list of most-wanted terrorists.
Robert Baer, who was a C.I.A. officer in the Middle East and elsewhere for two decades, told me that Ahmadinejad and his Revolutionary Guard colleagues in the Iranian government are capable of making a bomb, hiding it, and launching it at Israel. Theyre apocalyptic Shiites. If youre sitting in Tel Aviv and you believe theyve got nukes and missilesyouve got to take them out. These guys are nuts, and theres no reason to back off.
Under Ahmadinejad, the Revolutionary Guards have expanded their power base throughout the Iranian bureaucracy; by the end of January, they had replaced thousands of civil servants with their own members. One former senior United Nations official, who has extensive experience with Iran, depicted the turnover as a white coup, with ominous implications for the West. Professionals in the Foreign Ministry are out; others are waiting to be kicked out, he said. We may be too late. These guys now believe that they are stronger than ever since the revolution. He said that, particularly in consideration of Chinas emergence as a superpower, Irans attitude was To hell with the West. You can do as much as you like.
Irans supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, is considered by many experts to be in a stronger position than Ahmadinejad. Ahmadinejad is not in control, one European diplomat told me. Power is diffuse in Iran. The Revolutionary Guards are among the key backers of the nuclear program, but, ultimately, I dont think they are in charge of it. The Supreme Leader has the casting vote on the nuclear program, and the Guards will not take action without his approval.
The Pentagon adviser on the war on terror said that allowing Iran to have the bomb is not on the table. We cannot have nukes being sent downstream to a terror network. Its just too dangerous. He added, The whole internal debate is on which way to goin terms of stopping the Iranian program. It is possible, the adviser said, that Iran will unilaterally renounce its nuclear plansand forestall the American action. God may smile on us, but I dont think so. The bottom line is that Iran cannot become a nuclear-weapons state. The problem is that the Iranians realize that only by becoming a nuclear state can they defend themselves against the U.S. Something bad is going to happen.
While almost no one disputes Irans nuclear ambitions, there is intense debate over how soon it could get the bomb, and what to do about that. Robert Gallucci, a former government expert on nonproliferation who is now the dean of the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown, told me, Based on what I know, Iran could be eight to ten years away from developing a deliverable nuclear weapon. Gallucci added, If they had a covert nuclear program and we could prove it, and we could not stop it by negotiation, diplomacy, or the threat of sanctions, Id be in favor of taking it out. But if you do itbomb Iranwithout being able to show theres a secret program, youre in trouble.
Meir Dagan, the head of Mossad, Israels intelligence agency, told the Knesset last December that Iran is one to two years away, at the latest, from having enriched uranium. From that point, the completion of their nuclear weapon is simply a technical matter. In a conversation with me, a senior Israeli intelligence official talked about what he said was Irans duplicity: There are two parallel nuclear programs inside Iranthe program declared to the I.A.E.A. and a separate operation, run by the military and the Revolutionary Guards. Israeli officials have repeatedly made this argument, but Israel has not produced public evidence to support it. Richard Armitage, the Deputy Secretary of State in Bushs first term, told me, I think Iran has a secret nuclear-weapons programI believe it, but I dont know it.
In recent months, the Pakistani government has given the U.S. new access to A. Q. Khan, the so-called father of the Pakistani atomic bomb. Khan, who is now living under house arrest in Islamabad, is accused of setting up a black market in nuclear materials; he made at least one clandestine visit to Tehran in the late nineteen-eighties. In the most recent interrogations, Khan has provided information on Irans weapons design and its time line for building a bomb. The picture is of unquestionable danger, the former senior intelligence official said. (The Pentagon adviser also confirmed that Khan has been singing like a canary.) The concern, the former senior official said, is that Khan has credibility problems. He is suggestible, and hes telling the neoconservatives what they want to hearor what might be useful to Pakistans President, Pervez Musharraf, who is under pressure to assist Washington in the war on terror.
I think Khans leading us on, the former intelligence official said. I dont know anybody who says, Heres the smoking gun. But lights are beginning to blink. Hes feeding us information on the time line, and targeting information is coming in from our own sources sensors and the covert teams. The C.I.A., which was so burned by Iraqi W.M.D., is going to the Pentagon and the Vice-Presidents office saying, Its all new stuff. People in the Administration are saying, Weve got enough.
The Administrations case against Iran is compromised by its history of promoting false intelligence on Iraqs weapons of mass destruction. In a recent essay on the Foreign Policy Web site, entitled Fool Me Twice, Joseph Cirincione, the director for nonproliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, wrote, The unfolding administration strategy appears to be an effort to repeat its successful campaign for the Iraq war. He noted several parallels:
The vice president of the United States gives a major speech focused on the threat from an oil-rich nation in the Middle East. The U.S. Secretary of State tells Congress that the same nation is our most serious global challenge. The Secretary of Defense calls that nation the leading supporter of global terrorism.
Cirincione called some of the Administrations claims about Iran questionable or lacking in evidence. When I spoke to him, he asked, What do we know? What is the threat? The question is: How urgent is all this? The answer, he said, is in the intelligence community and the I.A.E.A. (In August, the Washington Post reported that the most recent comprehensive National Intelligence Estimate predicted that Iran was a decade away from being a nuclear power.)
Last year, the Bush Administration briefed I.A.E.A. officials on what it said was new and alarming information about Irans weapons program which had been retrieved from an Iranians laptop. The new data included more than a thousand pages of technical drawings of weapons systems. The Washington Post reported that there were also designs for a small facility that could be used in the uranium-enrichment process. Leaks about the laptop became the focal point of stories in the Times and elsewhere. The stories were generally careful to note that the materials could have been fabricated, but also quoted senior American officials as saying that they appeared to be legitimate. The headline in the Times account read, RELYING ON COMPUTER, U.S. SEEKS TO PROVE IRANS NUCLEAR AIMS.
I was told in interviews with American and European intelligence officials, however, that the laptop was more suspect and less revelatory than it had been depicted. The Iranian who owned the laptop had initially been recruited by German and American intelligence operatives, working together. The Americans eventually lost interest in him. The Germans kept on, but the Iranian was seized by the Iranian counter-intelligence force. It is not known where he is today. Some family members managed to leave Iran with his laptop and handed it over at a U.S. embassy, apparently in Europe. It was a classic walk-in.
A European intelligence official said, There was some hesitation on our side about what the materials really proved, and we are still not convinced. The drawings were not meticulous, as newspaper accounts suggested, but had the character of sketches, the European official said. It was not a slam-dunk smoking gun.
The threat of American military action has created dismay at the headquarters of the I.A.E.A., in Vienna. The agencys officials believe that Iran wants to be able to make a nuclear weapon, but nobody has presented an inch of evidence of a parallel nuclear-weapons program in Iran, the high-ranking diplomat told me. The I.A.E.A.s best estimate is that the Iranians are five years away from building a nuclear bomb. But, if the United States does anything militarily, they will make the development of a bomb a matter of Iranian national pride, the diplomat said. The whole issue is Americas risk assessment of Irans future intentions, and they dont trust the regime. Iran is a menace to American policy.
Gaza 2009 - Over het Nieuwjaarsvuurwerk van Israël - Chronologie van een aangekondigde ramp - PART I (3)
Begin deel (3) ...Het vervolg...!!
In Vienna, I was told of an exceedingly testy meeting earlier this year between Mohamed ElBaradei, the I.A.E.A.s director-general, who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year, and Robert Joseph, the Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control. Josephs message was blunt, one diplomat recalled: We cannot have a single centrifuge spinning in Iran. Iran is a direct threat to the national security of the United States and our allies, and we will not tolerate it. We want you to give us an understanding that you will not say anything publicly that will undermine us.
Josephs heavy-handedness was unnecessary, the diplomat said, since the I.A.E.A. already had been inclined to take a hard stand against Iran. All of the inspectors are angry at being misled by the Iranians, and some think the Iranian leadership are nutcasesone hundred per cent totally certified nuts, the diplomat said. He added that ElBaradeis overriding concern is that the Iranian leaders want confrontation, just like the neocons on the other sidein Washington. At the end of the day, it will work only if the United States agrees to talk to the Iranians.
The central questionwhether Iran will be able to proceed with its plans to enrich uraniumis now before the United Nations, with the Russians and the Chinese reluctant to impose sanctions on Tehran. A discouraged former I.A.E.A. official told me in late March that, at this point, theres nothing the Iranians could do that would result in a positive outcome. American diplomacy does not allow for it. Even if they announce a stoppage of enrichment, nobody will believe them. Its a dead end.
Another diplomat in Vienna asked me, Why would the West take the risk of going to war against that kind of target without giving it to the I.A.E.A. to verify? Were low-cost, and we can create a program that will force Iran to put its cards on the table. A Western Ambassador in Vienna expressed similar distress at the White Houses dismissal of the I.A.E.A. He said, If you dont believe that the I.A.E.A. can establish an inspection systemif you dont trust themyou can only bomb.
There is little sympathy for the I.A.E.A. in the Bush Administration or among its European allies. Were quite frustrated with the director-general, the European diplomat told me. His basic approach has been to describe this as a dispute between two sides with equal weight. Its not. Were the good guys! ElBaradei has been pushing the idea of letting Iran have a small nuclear-enrichment program, which is ludicrous. Its not his job to push ideas that pose a serious proliferation risk.
The Europeans are rattled, however, by their growing perception that President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney believe a bombing campaign will be needed, and that their real goal is regime change. Everyone is on the same page about the Iranian bomb, but the United States wants regime change, a European diplomatic adviser told me. He added, The Europeans have a role to play as long as they dont have to choose between going along with the Russians and the Chinese or going along with Washington on something they dont want. Their policy is to keep the Americans engaged in something the Europeans can live with. It may be untenable.
The Brits think this is a very bad idea, Flynt Leverett, a former National Security Council staff member who is now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institutions Saban Center, told me, but theyre really worried were going to do it. The European diplomatic adviser acknowledged that the British Foreign Office was aware of war planning in Washington but that, short of a smoking gun, its going to be very difficult to line up the Europeans on Iran. He said that the British are jumpy about the Americans going full bore on the Iranians, with no compromise.
The European diplomat said that he was skeptical that Iran, given its record, had admitted to everything it was doing, but to the best of our knowledge the Iranian capability is not at the point where they could successfully run centrifuges to enrich uranium in quantity. One reason for pursuing diplomacy was, he said, Irans essential pragmatism. The regime acts in its best interests, he said. Irans leaders take a hard-line approach on the nuclear issue and they want to call the American bluff, believing that the tougher they are the more likely the West will fold. But, he said, From what weve seen with Iran, they will appear superconfident until the moment they back off.
The diplomat went on, You never reward bad behavior, and this is not the time to offer concessions. We need to find ways to impose sufficient costs to bring the regime to its senses. Its going to be a close call, but I think if there is unity in opposition and the price imposedin sanctionsis sufficient, they may back down. Its too early to give up on the U.N. route. He added, If the diplomatic process doesnt work, there is no military solution. There may be a military option, but the impact could be catastrophic.
Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister, was George Bushs most dependable ally in the year leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. But he and his party have been racked by a series of financial scandals, and his popularity is at a low point. Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, said last year that military action against Iran was inconceivable. Blair has been more circumspect, saying publicly that one should never take options off the table.
Other European officials expressed similar skepticism about the value of an American bombing campaign. The Iranian economy is in bad shape, and Ahmadinejad is in bad shape politically, the European intelligence official told me. He will benefit politically from American bombing. You can do it, but the results will be worse. An American attack, he said, would alienate ordinary Iranians, including those who might be sympathetic to the U.S. Iran is no longer living in the Stone Age, and the young people there have access to U.S. movies and books, and they love it, he said. If there was a charm offensive with Iran, the mullahs would be in trouble in the long run.
Another European official told me that he was aware that many in Washington wanted action. Its always the same guys, he said, with a resigned shrug. There is a belief that diplomacy is doomed to fail. The timetable is short.
A key ally with an important voice in the debate is Israel, whose leadership has warned for years that it viewed any attempt by Iran to begin enriching uranium as a point of no return. I was told by several officials that the White Houses interest in preventing an Israeli attack on a Muslim country, which would provoke a backlash across the region, was a factor in its decision to begin the current operational planning. In a speech in Cleveland on March 20th, President Bush depicted Ahmadinejads hostility toward Israel as a serious threat. Its a threat to world peace. He added, I made it clear, Ill make it clear again, that we will use military might to protect our ally Israel.
Any American bombing attack, Richard Armitage told me, would have to consider the following questions: What will happen in the other Islamic countries? What ability does Iran have to reach us and touch us globallythat is, terrorism? Will Syria and Lebanon up the pressure on Israel? What does the attack do to our already diminished international standing? And what does this mean for Russia, China, and the U.N. Security Council?
Iran, which now produces nearly four million barrels of oil a day, would not have to cut off production to disrupt the worlds oil markets. It could blockade or mine the Strait of Hormuz, the thirty-four-mile-wide passage through which Middle Eastern oil reaches the Indian Ocean. Nonetheless, the recently retired defense official dismissed the strategic consequences of such actions. He told me that the U.S. Navy could keep shipping open by conducting salvage missions and putting mine- sweepers to work. Its impossible to block passage, he said. The government consultant with ties to the Pentagon also said he believed that the oil problem could be managed, pointing out that the U.S. has enough in its strategic reserves to keep America running for sixty days. However, those in the oil business I spoke to were less optimistic; one industry expert estimated that the price per barrel would immediately spike, to anywhere from ninety to a hundred dollars per barrel, and could go higher, depending on the duration and scope of the conflict.
Michel Samaha, a veteran Lebanese Christian politician and former cabinet minister in Beirut, told me that the Iranian retaliation might be focussed on exposed oil and gas fields in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. They would be at risk, he said, and this could begin the real jihad of Iran versus the West. You will have a messy world.
Iran could also initiate a wave of terror attacks in Iraq and elsewhere, with the help of Hezbollah. On April 2nd, the Washington Post reported that the planning to counter such attacks is consuming a lot of time at U.S. intelligence agencies. The best terror network in the world has remained neutral in the terror war for the past several years, the Pentagon adviser on the war on terror said of Hezbollah. This will mobilize them and put us up against the group that drove Israel out of southern Lebanon. If we move against Iran, Hezbollah will not sit on the sidelines. Unless the Israelis take them out, they will mobilize against us. (When I asked the government consultant about that possibility, he said that, if Hezbollah fired rockets into northern Israel, Israel and the new Lebanese government will finish them off.)
The adviser went on, If we go, the southern half of Iraq will light up like a candle. The American, British, and other coalition forces in Iraq would be at greater risk of attack from Iranian troops or from Shiite militias operating on instructions from Iran. (Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, has close ties to the leading Shiite parties in Iraq.) A retired four-star general told me that, despite the eight thousand British troops in the region, the Iranians could take Basra with ten mullahs and one sound truck.
If you attack, the high-ranking diplomat told me in Vienna, Ahmadinejad will be the new Saddam Hussein of the Arab world, but with more credibility and more power. You must bite the bullet and sit down with the Iranians.
The diplomat went on, There are people in Washington who would be unhappy if we found a solution. They are still banking on isolation and regime change. This is wishful thinking. He added, The window of opportunity is now.
INTERVIEW WITH INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST SEYMOUR HERSH
'The President Has Accepted Ethnic Cleansing'
Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has consistently led the way in telling the story of what's really going on in Iraq and Iran. SPIEGEL ONLINE spoke to him about America's Hitler, Bush's Vietnam, and how the US press failed the First Amendment.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was just in New York for the United Nations General Assembly. Once again, he said that he is only interested in civilian nuclear power instead of atomic weapons. How much does the West really know about the nuclear program in Iran?
Seymour Hersh: A lot. And it's been underestimated how much the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) knows. If you follow what (IAEA head Mohamed) ElBaradei and the various reports have been saying, the Iranians have claimed to be enriching uranium to higher than a 4 percent purity, which is the amount you need to run a peaceful nuclear reactor. But the IAEA's best guess is that they are at 3.67 percent or something. The Iranians are not even doing what they claim to be doing. The IAEA has been saying all along that they've been making progress but basically, Iran is nowhere. Of course the US and Israel are going to say you have to look at the worst case scenario, but there isn't enough evidence to justify a bombing raid.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is this just another case of exaggerating the danger in preparation for an invasion like we saw in 2002 and 2003 prior to the Iraq War?
Hersh: We have this wonderful capacity in America to Hitlerize people. We had Hitler, and since Hitler we've had about 20 of them. Khrushchev and Mao and of course Stalin, and for a little while Gadhafi was our Hitler. And now we have this guy Ahmadinejad. The reality is, he's not nearly as powerful inside the country as we like to think he is. The Revolutionary Guards have direct control over the missile program and if there is a weapons program, they would be the ones running it. Not Ahmadinejad.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Where does this feeling of urgency that the US has with Iran come from?
Hersh: Pressure from the White House. That's just their game.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: What interest does the White House have in moving us to the brink with Tehran?
Hersh: You have to ask yourself what interest we had 40 years ago for going to war in Vietnam. You'd think that in this country with so many smart people, that we can't possibly do the same dumb thing again. I have this theory in life that there is no learning. There is no learning curve. Everything is tabula rasa. Everybody has to discover things for themselves.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Even after Iraq? Aren't there strategic reasons for getting so deeply involved in the Middle East?
Hersh: Oh no. We're going to build democracy. The real thing in the mind of this president is he wants to reshape the Middle East and make it a model. He absolutely believes it. I always thought Henry Kissinger was a disaster because he lies like most people breathe and you can't have that in public life. But if it were Kissinger this time around, I'd actually be relieved because I'd know that the madness would be tied to some oil deal. But in this case, what you see is what you get. This guy believes he's doing God's work.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: So what are the options in Iraq?
Hersh: There are two very clear options: Option A) Get everybody out by midnight tonight. Option B) Get everybody out by midnight tomorrow. The fuel that keeps the war going is us.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: A lot of people have been saying that the US presence there is a big part of the problem. Is anyone in the White House listening?
Hersh: No. The president is still talking about the "Surge" (eds. The "Surge" refers to President Bush's commitment of 20,000 additional troops to Iraq in the spring of 2007 in an attempt to improve security in the country.) as if it's going to unite the country. But the Surge was a con game of putting additional troops in there. We've basically Balkanized the place, building walls and walling off Sunnis from Shiites. And in Anbar Province, where there has been success, all of the Shiites are gone. They've simply split.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is that why there has been a drop in violence there?
Hersh: I think that's a much better reason than the fact that there are a couple more soldiers on the ground.
SPIEGEL ONLINE:So what are the lessons of the Surge?
Hersh: The Surge means basically that, in some way, the president has accepted ethnic cleansing, whether he's talking about it or not. When he first announced the Surge in January, he described it as a way to bring the parties together. He's not saying that any more. I think he now understands that ethnic cleansing is what is going to happen. You're going to have a Kurdistan. You're going to have a Sunni area that we're going to have to support forever. And you're going to have the Shiites in the South.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: So the US is over four years into a war that is likely going to end in a disaster. How valid are the comparisons with Vietnam?
Hersh: The validity is that the US is fighting a guerrilla war and doesn't know the culture. But the difference is that at a certain point, because of Congressional and public opposition, the Vietnam War was no longer tenable. But these guys now dont care. They see it but they dont care.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: If the Iraq war does end up as a defeat for the US, will it leave as deep a wound as the Vietnam War did?
Hersh: Much worse. Vietnam was a tactical mistake. This is strategic. How do you repair damages with whole cultures? On the home front, though, we'll rationalize it away. Dont worry about that. Again, there's no learning curve. No learning curve at all. We'll be ready to fight another stupid war in another two decades.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Of course, preventing that is partially the job of the media. Have reporters been doing a better job recently than they did in the run-up to the Iraq War?
Hersh: Oh yeah. They've done a better job since. But back then, they blew it. When you have a guy like Bush who's going to move the infamous Doomsday Clock forward, and he's going to put everybody in jeopardy and he's secretive and he doesn't tell Congress anything and he's inured to what we write. In such a case, we (journalists) become more important. The First Amendment failed and the American press failed the Constitution. We were jingoistic. And that was a terrible failing. I'm asked the question all the time: What happened to my old paper, the New York Times? And I now say, they stink. They missed it. They missed the biggest story of the time and they're going to have to live with it.
Interview conducted by Charles Hawley and David Gordon Smith
Hersh : "We have this wonderful capacity in America to Hitlerize people. We had Hitler, and since Hitler we've had about 20 of them. Khrushchev and Mao and of course Stalin, and for a little while Gadhafi was our Hitler. And now we have this guy Ahmadinejad. The reality is, he's not nearly as powerful inside the country as we like to think he is. The Revolutionary Guards have direct control over the missile program and if there is a weapons program, they would be the ones running it. Not Ahmadinejad."
Het is dus tegenwoordig blijkbaar nogal bon ton om met Hitler vergeleken te worden, zo'n beetje zoals aankomende wielrennertjes gauw nogal eens vergeleken worden met Eddy Merckx of voetballertjes met Maradona of Cruyff.
De hele heisa draait natuurlijk ook om de zogenaamde quote van de Iraanse President Ahmadinejad die had gezegd of zou hebben gezegd dat Iran weldra van de kaart zou worden geveegd.
Maar... klopt dit verhaal wel? Heeft Ahmadinejad dat werkelijk gezegd, en als ie 't zei, hoe bedoelde hij 't dan? Laten we voor de zekerheid die fameuze quote toch ook maar eens bekijken.
Volgens de International Herald Tribune...
Published: THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2005
Wipe Israel 'off the map' Iranian says
New leader revives an old rhetorical tack
By Nazila Fathi
TEHRAN: Iran's conservative new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said Wednesdaythat Israel must be "wiped off the map" and that attacks by Palestinians would destroy it, the ISNA press agency reported.
Ahmadinejad was speaking to an audience of about 4,000 students at a program called "The World Without Zionism," in preparation for an annual anti-Israel demonstration on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan.
His tone was reminiscent of that of the early days of Iran's Islamic revolution in 1979. Iran and Israel have been bitter enemies since then, and anti-Israel slogans have been common at rallies.
Senior officials had avoided provocative language over the past decade, butAhmadinejad appears to be taking a more confrontational tone than Iranian leaders have in recent years.
Ahmadinejad said in his remarks Wednesday that the issue of a Palestinian state would be resolved only when Palestinians took control of all their lands.
"The establishment of Zionist regime was a move by the world oppressor against the Islamic world," he said, according to the press agency. "The skirmishes in the occupied land are part of the war of destiny. The outcome of hundreds of years of war will be defined in Palestinian land."
Referring to comments by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Islamic revolution, Admadinejad said, "As the imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map." Ahmadinejad's predecessor, Mohammad Khatami, in contrast, proposed a dialogue among civilizations and pursued a policy of détente.
In response to Ahmadinejad's remarks on Wednesday, Mark Regev, a spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, said that, "Unfortunately, this is not the first time we've seen such extreme statements from senior Iranian leaders."
He added that, "We see today that there is a growing understanding in the international community that the extremist regime in Tehran is not just Israel's problem, but rather an issue that the entire international community must grapple with."
Israel contends that Iran finances a number of Palestinian armed factions that carry out attacks against Israel, including Islamic Jihad, the group that claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed at least five people Wednesday in the Israeli coastal town of Hadera.
In his remarks on Wednesday, Ahmadinejad also called Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip a trick, and said Gaza was part of Palestinian territories.
"Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation's fury," he said. Any Islamic leader "who recognizes the Zionist regime means he is acknowledging the surrender and defeat of the Islamic world."
Greg Myre contributed reporting from Jerusalem.
White House concerns
The White House said Wednesday that Ahmadinejad's call for Israel to be "wiped off the map" underlined U.S. concerns about Tehran's nuclear ambitions, Agence France-Presse reported from Washington.
"It reconfirms what we've been saying about the regime in Iran," said the White House spokesman, Scott McClellan. "It underscores the concerns we have about Iran's nuclear intentions."
Washington has accused Tehran of using a civilian nuclear program as cover for efforts to develop atomic weapons. Iran has denied the allegation.
In Paris,Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said that France would summon Iran's ambassador to Paris to question him about Ahmadinejad's comments."I condemn them very forcefully," Douste-Blazy said.
The European Union and Russia have joined condemnation of the Iranian president's public call for Israel to be "wiped off the map".
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's remark has already been condemned by individual EU states and Canada who all summoned Iranian diplomats for an explanation.
A top Israeli minister called for Iran to be expelled from the United Nations.
The White House said the comment showed the US was right to be concerned about Iran's nuclear programme.
Western governments are bound to see the remark as further proof that Iran's hardline president is disinclined to curb his country's controversial nuclear programme, says the BBC's diplomatic correspondent, Bridget Kendall.
They may hope that a co-ordinated diplomatic protest will help step up the pressure, she adds.
"Those who insist on transferring the Iranian nuclear dossier to the UN Security Council have received an additional argument for doing so," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said during a trip to Jordan.
"What I saw on television was unacceptable," added the minister, whose country has been supplying civilian nuclear know-how to Iran, and he promised Moscow would bring its concern to Iran's attention.
An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report last month said questions about Iran's nuclear programme remained unanswered despite an intensive investigation.
The UK, France, Germany and the US are pressing Iran to provide more access to its nuclear plans.
EU leaders meeting in London issued a joint condemnation "in the strongest terms" following statements of concern from individual members of the 25-state body.
"Calls for violence, and for the destruction of any state, are manifestly inconsistent with any claim to be a mature and responsible member of the international community," the statement said.
Israeli Vice-Prime Minister Shimon Peres said the remark contravened the UN's charter and was "tantamount to a crime against humanity".
'World without Zionism'
Mr Ahmadinejad told some 3,000 students in Tehran that Israel's establishment had been a move by the West against the Islamic world.
He was addressing a conference entitled The World without Zionism and his comments were reported by the Iranian state news agency Irna.
"As the Imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map," he said, referring to Iran's late revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
In 2001, former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani speculated that a Muslim state that developed a nuclear weapon might use it to destroy Israel.
His comments were part of a critique of what hew called American imperialism in the region.
Such calls are regular slogans at anti-Israeli or anti-US rallies in Iran.
Mr Ahmadinejad warned leaders of Muslim nations who recognised the state of Israel that they faced "the wrath of their own people".
Mr Ahmadinejad came to power earlier this year, replacing Mohammad Khatami who had sought better relations with the West.
...heeft Ahmadinejad dat dus blijkbaar wel zo geponeerd, en als dat waar was, was 't inderdaad niet erg netjes van 'm.
Maar zelfs indien Ahmadinejad of Iran erin zouden slagen om één, nu ja, pietluttig atoombommetje in elkaar te knutselen moeten ze toch wel beseffen dat ze er van de USA en Israel een goeie 3 à 400 terug mogen verwachten?
Echter, verschillende àndere bronnen beweren dat de vertaling van de woorden van Ahmadinejad vanuit het Perzisch op zijn minst om het zo te zeggen nogal met de haren getrokken was.
Wie trouwens ondergaande tekst mét tekstlinken & voetnoten wilt lezen, die verwijzen we graag per direct naar Wikipedia waar we het desbetreffende ~toch wel zeer uitvoerige~ artikel vonden. Met méér dan 100 voetnoten & al evenveel of meer tekstlinken.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Israel
During his presidency, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speeches and statements have contributed to increased tensions between Iran and Israel, and between Iran and several Western nations.
2005 "World Without Zionism" speech
On October 26, 2005, IRIB News, an English-language subsidiary of the state-controlled Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, filed a story on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent speech to the "World Without Zionism" conference in Asia. The story was entitled: Ahmadinejad: Israel must be wiped off the map. The story was picked up by Western news agencies and quickly made headlines around the world. On October 30, The New York Times published a full transcript of the speech in which Ahmadinejad was quoted in part as follows:
Our dear Imam (referring to Ayatollah Khomeini) said that the occupying regime must be wiped off the map and this was a very wise statement. We cannot compromise over the issue of Palestine. Is it possible to create a new front in the heart of an old front. This would be a defeat and whoever accepts the legitimacy of this regime has in fact, signed the defeat of the Islamic world. Our dear Imam targeted the heart of the world oppressor in his struggle, meaning the occupying regime. I have no doubt that the new wave that has started in Palestine, and we witness it in the Islamic world too, will eliminate this disgraceful stain from the Islamic world.
Ahmadinejad also claimed in the speech that the issue with Palestine would be over "the day that all refugees return to their homes [and] a democratic government elected by the people comes to power", and denounced attempts to normalise relations with Israel, condemning all Muslim leaders who accept the existence of Israel as "acknowledging a surrender and defeat of the Islamic world."
The speech also indicated that the Iranian President considered Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip to be a trick, designed to gain acknowledgement from Islamic states. In a rally held two days later, Ahmadinejad declared that his words reflected the views of the Iranian people, adding that Westerners are free to comment, but their reactions are invalid.
"Wiped off the map" or "Vanish from the pages of time" translation
Many news sources repeated the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) statement that Ahmadinejad had demanded that "Israel must be wiped off the map", an English idiom which means to "cause a place to stop existing", or to "obliterate totally", or "destroy completely".
Ahmadinejad's phrase was " بايد از صفحه روزگار محو شود " according to the text published on the President's Office's website.
According to Juan Cole, a University of Michigan Professor of Modern Middle East and South Asian History, Ahmadinejad's statement should be translated as:
The Imam said that this regime occupying Jerusalem (een rezhim-e eshghalgar-e qods) must [vanish from] the page of time (bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad).
According to Cole, "Ahmadinejad did not say he was going to 'wipe Israel off the map' because no such idiom exists in Persian". Instead, "He did say he hoped its regime, i.e., a Jewish-Zionist state occupying Jerusalem, would collapse."
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) translates the phrase similarly. On June 2, 2006 The Guardian columnist and foreign correspondent Jonathan Steele published an article based on this reasoning.
Sources within the Iranian government have also denied that Ahmadinejad issued any sort of threat. On 20 February 2006, Iran's foreign minister denied that Tehran wanted to see Israel "wiped off the map," saying Ahmadinejad had been misunderstood. "Nobody can remove a country from the map. This is a misunderstanding in Europe of what our president mentioned," Manouchehr Mottaki told a news conference, speaking in English, after addressing the European Parliament. "How is it possible to remove a country from the map? He is talking about the regime. We do not recognize legally this regime," he said.
In a June 11, 2006 analysis of the translation controversy, New York Times deputy foreign editor and Israeli resident Ethan Bronner argued that Ahmadinejad had called for Israel to be wiped off the map. After noting the objections of critics such as Cole and Steele, Bronner stated: "But translators in Tehran who work for the president's office and the foreign ministry disagree with them. All official translations of Mr. Ahmadinejad's statement, including a description of it on his website, refer to wiping Israel away." Bronner continued: "..it is hard to argue that, from Israel's point of view, Mr. Ahmadinejad poses no threat. Still, it is true that he has never specifically threatened war against Israel. So did Iran's president call for Israel to be 'wiped off the map'? It certainly seems so. Did that amount to a call for war? That remains an open question." This elicited a further response from Jonathan Steele.
Shiraz Dossa, a professor of Political Science at St. Francis University in Nova Scotia, Canada who presented a paper at the International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust conference in Iran, believes the text is a mistranslation.
Ahmadinejad was quoting the Ayatollah Khomeini in the specific speech under discussion: what he said was that "the occupation regime over Jerusalem should vanish from the page of time." No state action is envisaged in this lament; it denotes a spiritual wish, whereas the erroneous translation"wipe Israel off the map"suggests a military threat. There is a huge chasm between the correct and the incorrect translations. The notion that Iran can "wipe out" U.S.-backed, nuclear-armed Israel is ludicrous.
Clarifying comments by Ahmadinejad
President Ahmadinejad has been asked to explain his comments at subsequent press conferences. At a later news conference on January 14, 2006, Ahmadinejad stated his speech had been exaggerated and misinterpreted. "There is no new policy, they created a lot of hue and cry over that. It is clear what we say: Let the Palestinians participate in free elections and they will say what they want."
Speaking at a D-8 summit meeting in July 2008, when asked to comment on whether he has called for the destruction of Israel he denied that his country would ever instigate military action, there being "no need for any measures by the Iranian people". Instead he claimed that "the Zionist regime" in Israel would eventually collapse on its own. "I assure you... there won't be any war in the future," both the BBC and AP quoted him as saying.
And asked if he objected to the government of Israel or Jewish people, he said that "creating an objection against the Zionists doesn't mean that there are objections against the Jewish". He added that Jews lived in Iran and were represented in the country's parliament.
In a September 2008 interview with Juan Gonzalez and Amy Goodman on the radio and television program Democracy Now!, Ahmadinejad was asked: "If the Palestinian leaders agree to a two-state solution, could Iran live with an Israeli state?" and replied
If they [the Palestinians] want to keep the Zionists, they can stay ... Whatever the people decide, we will respect it. I mean, it's very much in correspondence with our proposal to allow Palestinian people to decide through free referendums.
Interviewer Juan Gonzalez called the reply "a tiny opening". Another observer however dubbed it an "astonishing" admission "that Iran might agree to the existence of the state of Israel," and a "softening" of Ahmadinejad's "long-standing, point-blank anti-Israeli stance". Australian-born British human rights activist Peter Tatchell also asked whether the statement reflected opportunism on Ahmadinejad's part, or an openness by Iran "to options more moderate than his reported remarks about wiping the Israeli state off the map
Interpretation of speech as call for genocide
The speech was interpreted by some as a call for genocide. For example, Canada's then Prime Minister Paul Martin said, "this threat to Israel's existence, this call for genocide coupled with Iran's obvious nuclear ambitions is a matter that the world cannot ignore."
In 2007, more than one hundred members of the United States House of Representatives co-sponsored a bill, "Calling on the United Nations Security Council to charge Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with violating the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the United Nations Charter because of his calls for the destruction of the State of Israel."
Cole interprets the speech as a call for the end of Jewish rule of Israel, but not necessarily for the removal of Jewish people:
His statements were morally outrageous and historically ignorant, but he did not actually call for mass murder (Ariel Sharon made the "occupation regime" in Gaza "vanish" last summer [sic]) or for the expulsion of the Israeli Jews to Europe.
However, the Iranian government IRIB News in English published a story reporting on the Ahmadinejad speech on 'Qods Day' on Oct 5 2007, stating that the president 'repeated an earlier suggestion to Europe on settlement of the Zionists in Europe or big lands such as Canada and Alaska so they would be able to own their own land.'
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Gawdat Bahgat, Director of Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, commenting on this saying of Ahmadinejad and Iran's nuclear program states: "The fiery calls to destroy Israel are meant to mobilize domestic and regional constituencies. Iran has no plan to attack Israel with its nuclear arsenal and powerful conventional military capabilities. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameni summed up his countrys stand on the Arab-Israeli conflict by stressing, '[The] Palestine issue is not Irans jihad.'" In fact, Bahgat says that according to most analysts a military confrontation between Iran and Israel is unlikely.
In the speech, Ahmadinejad gave the examples of Iran under the Shah, the Soviet Union and Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq as examples of apparently invincible regimes that ceased to exist. Ahmadinejad used these examples to justify his belief that the United States and the State of Israel can also be defeated claiming, "they say it is not possible to have a world without the United States and Zionism. But you know that this is a possible goal and slogan."
In April 2006, Iran's ambassador was asked directly about Ahmadinejad's position towards Israel by CNN correspondent Wolf Blitzer:
BLITZER: But should there be a state of Israel?
SOLTANIEH: I think I've already answered to you. If Israel is a synonym and will give the indication of Zionism mentality, no. But if you are going to conclude that we have said the people there have to be removed or they have to be massacred or so, this is fabricated, unfortunate selective approach to what the mentality and policy of Islamic Republic of Iran is. I have to correct, and I did so....
Interpretation of speech as call for referendum
Iran's stated policy on Israel is to urge a one-state solution through a countrywide referendum. Juan Cole and others interpret Ahmadinejad's statements to be an endorsement of the one-state solution, in which a government would be elected that all Palestinians and all Israelis would jointly vote for; which would normally be an end to the "Zionist state".
In November 2005 Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei, rejecting any attack on Israel, called for a referendum in Palestine:
We hold a fair and logical stance on the issue of Palestine. Several decades ago, Egyptian statesman Gamal Abdel Nasser, who was the most popular Arab personality, stated in his slogans that the Egyptians would throw the Jewish usurpers of Palestine into the sea. Some years later, Saddam Hussein, the most hated Arab figure, said that he would put half of the Palestinian land on fire. But we would not approve of either of these two remarks. We believe, according to our Islamic principles, that neither throwing the Jews into the sea nor putting the Palestinian land on fire is logical and reasonable. Our position is that the Palestinian people should regain their rights. Palestine belongs to Palestinians, and the fate of Palestine should also be determined by the Palestinian people. The issue of Palestine is a criterion for judging how truthful those claiming to support democracy and human rights are in their claims. The Islamic Republic of Iran has presented a fair and logical solution to this issue. We have suggested that all native Palestinians, whether they are Muslims, Christians or Jews, should be allowed to take part in a general referendum before the eyes of the world and decide on a Palestinian government. Any government that is the result of this referendum will be a legitimate government.
Ahmadinejad himself has also repeatedly called for such solution. Most recently in an interview with Time magazine:
TIME: You have been quoted as saying Israel should be wiped off the map. Was that merely rhetoric, or do you mean it?
Ahmadinejad: [...] Our suggestion is that the 5 million Palestinian refugees come back to their homes, and then the entire people on those lands hold a referendum and choose their own system of government. This is a democratic and popular way.
Israeli responses to the speech
The day immediately following Ahmadinejad's statements, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called for Iran to be expelled from the United Nations and Israel's Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. In that meeting, all fifteen members condemned Ahmadinejad's remarks.
On May 8 2006, Israel's Second Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres said in an interview with Reuters that "the president of Iran should remember that Iran can also be wiped off the map," Army Radio reported. In 1981, Israeli fighter jets bombed Osirak, Iraqs nuclear reactor, severely damaging that country's nuclear weapons program. Today, however, experts state that a similar attack on Iran's nuclear facilities is unlikely, given that Iran's nuclear program is spread out across numerous locations, including some sites that are buried deep enough underground that they are thought to be safe from aerial strikes. According to ABC News, "Israel is within range of Iran's ballistic missiles but Israel is believed to possess the only nuclear arsenal in the Middle East." Peres, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, drew unusually stiff criticism from an analyst on Israel's state television, Yoav Limor, for talking of destroying another country. "There is a broad consensus that it would have been better if Peres had not said this, especially now," Limor said. "I'm quite sure Israel does not want to find itself in the same insane asylum as (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad."
Ahmadinejad's remark found support among Anti-Zionism Jewish groups. A spokesperson for one such organisation argued a distinction, saying Iran's leader had not called for the elimination of Jews but rather the illegal and illegitimate Zionist movement.
Palestinian responses to the speech
Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator and member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, stated: "Palestinians recognise the right of the state of Israel to exist and I reject his comments. What we need to be talking about is adding the state of Palestine to the map, and not wiping Israel from the map."
Khaled Meshaal, the Damascus-based political leader of ruling Hamas party, has supported Ahmadinejad's stance towards Israel calling Ahmadinejad's remarks "courageous". He has said that "Just as Islamic Iran defends the rights of the Palestinians, we defend the rights of Islamic Iran. We are part of a united front against the enemies of Islam."
International reaction to the speech
The White House stated that Ahmadinejad's rhetoric showed that it was correct in trying to halt Iran's nuclear program. United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he was dismayed by the comments, and reiterated Iran's obligations and Israel's right of existence under the UN Charter.
EU leaders issued a strong condemnation of the Iranian President's remarks, stating that "[c]alls for violence, and for the destruction of any state, are manifestly inconsistent with any claim to be a mature and responsible member of the international community." On November 17, the European Parliament adopted a resolution condemning Ahmadinejad's remarks and called on him to retract his bellicose comments in their entirety and to recognise the state of Israel and its right to live in peace and safety. Then Prime Minister of Canada Paul Martin also condemned the comments on several occasions.
On June 20, 2007, the United States House of Representatives passed Resolution 21, a resolution that pressures the United Nations Security Council to charge Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with violating the 1948 Convention on Genocide and the United Nations Charter because of his alleged call for Israel to be "wiped off the map". Congressman Dennis Kucinich attempted to include in the Congressional record independent translations of the speech from The New York Times and the Middle East Media Research Institute that translated the phrase as "the regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time" saying "The resolution passed by the House today sets a dangerous precedent in foreign affairs. A mistranslation could become a cause of war. The United States House may unwittingly be setting the stage for a war with Iran". Members of the House objected and inclusion of the independent translations were blocked.
In July 2008 the United Kingdom Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, repeated the controversial remarks to the Israeli parliament, the Knesset. "To those who believe that threatening statements fall upon indifferent ears we say in one voice - it is totally abhorrent for the president of Iran to call for Israel to be wiped from the map of the world."
Iranian responses to the speech controversy
The Iranian Ambassador to the European Union, Ali Ahani, called the tough political reactions in Europe against Ahmadinejad "unrealistic and premature," complaining about the discriminatory treatment of the international community, which Iran feels has continued to ignore the threats of Israel and its "organized campaign to provoke others into attacking Iran's facilities and infrastructure". Referring to Israel's support of an American attack on Iran. Hassan Hanizadeh, an editorialist for the Tehran Times, claimed that the criticism of Ahmadinejad's statement by the United States and other Western countries is an attempt to divert attention from "the ever-increasing crimes the Zionists are committing against the innocent Palestinians."
Former president Khatami stated "those words have created hundreds of political and economic problems for us in the world." Khatami has also recently accused Ahmadinejad and his supporters of being an Iranian "Taliban" and giving the enemies of Iran "... the best excuse to attack Islam and Iran." Others in Iran have said that there is nothing new about his statements and that the West has overreacted in order to try to smear Iran's international image.
In 2005 Khamenei responded to President Ahmadinejad's alleged remark that Israel should be "wiped of the map" by saying that "the Islamic Republic has never threatened and will never threaten any country." Moreover Khamenei's main advisor in foreign policy, Ali Akbar Velayati, refused to take part in Holocaust conference. In contrast to Ahmadinejad's remarks, Velayati said that Holocaust was a genocide and a historical reality.
Statement during 2005 Muslim Summit
On December 8, 2005, Ahmadinejad gave an interview with Iran's Arabic channel 'Al-Alam' during a summit of Muslim nations in Islam's holy city of Mecca. The interview contained remarks that were widely condemned as Holocaust denial:
Some European countries insist on saying that during World War II, Hitler burned millions of Jews and put them in concentration camps... Any historian, commentator or scientist who doubts that is taken to prison or gets condemned. Although we don't accept this claim, if we suppose it is true, if the Europeans are honest they should give some of their provinces in Europe like in Germany, Austria or other countries to the Zionists and the Zionists can establish their state in Europe. You offer part of Europe and we will support it.
The remarks were condemned by Israeli, European and American politicians, Kofi Annan "was shocked," and Saudi, Turkish, and Iranian officials sharply criticized his speech because it "marred a Mecca summit dedicated to showing Islam's moderate face."
Shortly after these remarks were made, Iran's Interior Minister, Mostafa Pourmohammadi, claimed Ahmadinejad's remarks had been misunderstood:
Actually the case has been misunderstood. (Ahmadinejad) did not mean to raise this matter. [He] wanted to say that if others harmed the Jewish community and created problems for the Jewish community, they have to pay the price themselves. People like the Palestinian people or other nations should not pay the price (for it).
Statements on Israel's 60th Birthday
On December 8, 2005, Ahmadinejad gave an interview with Iran's Arabic channel 'Al-Alam' during a summit of Muslim nations in Islam's holy city of Mecca. The interview contained remarks that were widely condemned as Holocaust denial:
Some European countries insist on saying that during World War II, Hitler burned millions of Jews and put them in concentration camps... Any historian, commentator or scientist who doubts that is taken to prison or gets condemned. Although we don't accept this claim, if we suppose it is true, if the Europeans are honest they should give some of their provinces in Europe like in Germany, Austria or other countries to the Zionists and the Zionists can establish their state in Europe. You offer part of Europe and we will support it.
The remarks were condemned by Israeli, European and American politicians, Kofi Annan "was shocked," and Saudi, Turkish, and Iranian officials sharply criticized his speech because it "marred a Mecca summit dedicated to showing Islam's moderate face."
Shortly after these remarks were made, Iran's Interior Minister, Mostafa Pourmohammadi, claimed Ahmadinejad's remarks had been misunderstood:
Actually the case has been misunderstood. (Ahmadinejad) did not mean to raise this matter. [He] wanted to say that if others harmed the Jewish community and created problems for the Jewish community, they have to pay the price themselves. People like the Palestinian people or other nations should not pay the price (for it).
Statement on Israel on the Anniversary of Death of Ayatollah Khomeini
While speaking at a gathering of foreign guests marking this week's 19th anniversary of the death of Iran's late revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the official IRNA news agency quoted Ahmadinejad as stating that
"You should know that the criminal and terrorist Zionist regime which has 60 years of plundering, aggression and crimes in its file has reached the end of its work and will soon disappear off the geographical scene."
Statement on Israel during UN Summit on Global Food Security
While visiting Rome, Italy for the United Nations summit on global food security, organized by the Food and Agriculture Organisation, in June 2008, Ahmadinejad stated, through a translator, that
"People like my comments, because people will save themselves from the imposition of the Zionists. European peoples have suffered the greatest damage from Zionists and today the costs of this false regime, be they political or economic costs, are on Europe's shoulders."
Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, complained to the United Nations and the Italian government about Ahmadinejad's presence at the conference, stating that "It is deplorable that a leader like him, who is failing both his own people and the international community, is allowed to hijack the agenda of this important FAO conference."
Statement on Israel and Zionism during 2008 UN General Assembly
In an address to the United Nations General Assembly on September 23, 2008, Ahmadinejad stated that Zionists are criminals and murderers, are "acquisitive" and deceitful, and dominate global finance despite their minuscule number. He further stated that It is deeply disastrous to witness that some presidential nominees have to visit these people [Zionists], take part in their gatherings and swear their allegiance and commitment to their interests in order to win financial or media support. These nations are spending their dignity and resources on the crimes and threats of the Zionist network against their will.Ahmadinejad stated the Zionist regime was on the path to collapse and that the "underhanded actions of the Zionists" as among the causes of the recent unrest in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. In a subsequent interview with the Los Angeles Times, Ahmadinejad stated that "The [Zionist] regime resembles an airplane that has lost its engine and is kind of going down. And no one can help it," he said. This will benefit everyone.
Statement that "Smaller Israel" is dead
In a speech broadcast on IRINN, the Iranian News Channel, on September 18 and 23, 2008, Ahmadinejad stated, in regard to the acceptance by Israeli leaders that the idea of Greater Israel is dead, that:
I would like to declare that the idea of "smaller Israel" is also dead. The very notion of Israel is dead, but they are lagging behind the times. Just like the idea of Greater Israel died 30 years ago, and they did not realize this, and have continued to perpetrate crimes for 30 years... Today, I say to them: The idea of smaller Israel is dead.
Other Statements on Israel
In a public address, which aired on the Iranian News Channel IRINN TV on June 2, 2008, Ahmadinejad stated:
The Zionist regime has lost its raison d'être. Today, the Palestinians identify with your name [Khomeini], your memory, and in your path. They are walking in your illuminated path and the Zionist regime has reached a total dead end. Thanks to God, your wish will soon be realized, and this germ of corruption will be wiped off.
Statement that Zionsts have taken control of the Power centers of the world
In a speech broadcast on IRINN, the Iranian News Channel, on September 18 and 23, 2008, Ahmadinejad stated:
The Zionists are crooks. A small handful of Zionists, with a very intricate organization, have taken over the power centers of the world. According to our estimates, the main cadre of the Zionists consists of 2,000 individuals at most, and they have another 8,000 activists. In addition, they have several informants, who spy and provide them with intelligence information. But because of their control of power centers in the U.S. and Europe, and their control of the financial centers and the news and propaganda agencies, they spread propaganda as if they were the entire world, as if all the peoples supported them, and as if they were the majority ruling the world.
Denying the Holocaust?
On 14 December 2005, in Zahedan in Iran, Ahmadinejad in a speech said he wanted to explain his recent remarks on a summit in Saudi Arabia supposedly the 8 December meeting in Mecca. The 14 December speech then runs, in short outline, like this: People in Palestine are getting killed every day by the new rulers of Palestine. As a consequence of the Holocaust, the Europeans took land from the Palestinians for a Jewish state. I dont care whether the Holocaust took place or not, but it is illogical to give a piece of Palestine for compensation. Some people make an awful fuss about that Holocaust, make a myth of it. ( ) Countries that themselves have nuclear, chemical and biological weapons should not raise an outcry when Iran wants access to peaceful nuclear technology.
Of this new speech, three reports exist, a long one from IRNA and two small ones from BBC and CNN. IRNA is the Iranian state news agency. CNN declares to base its story on IRIB, another Iranian agency. The sentence in which Holocaust and myth are connected to each other is translated differently in these three versions. The translation given by the BBC has been labeled by the BBC itself as Holocaust denial. Israel, the U.S., the European Commission and several individual European countries have reacted shocked and indignant on some supposed statements from Ahmadinejad. Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Mark Regev said, the Iranian regime holds a perverse vision of the world. Germanys foreign minister called Ahmadinejads remarks shocking and unacceptable. The White House spokesman said, the comments underline the need to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons. A European Commission spokeswoman called the comments completely unacceptable.
The head of Iran's Jewish community, Haroun Yashayaei, sent a letter to Ahmadinejad in early 2006 that read, in part, "How is it possible to ignore all of the undeniable evidence existing for the exile and massacre of the Jews in Europe during World War Two? Challenging one of the most obvious and saddening events of 20th-century humanity has created astonishment among the people of the world and spread fear and anxiety among the small Jewish community of Iran."
In February 2006, Former President Mohammad Khatami clearly rejected Ahmadinejad's remarks by calling the Holocaust a "historic fact".
In August 2006, the Deutsche Welle citing AFP citing the German news agency Mehr, and Mail & Guardian Online citing Mehr reported that Ahmadinejad had written a letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in which he suggested, the victorious Allied powers in World War II may have invented the Holocaust to embarrass Germany. "Is it not a reasonable possibility that some countries that had won the war made up this excuse to constantly embarrass the defeated people ... to bar their progress," Ahmadinejad reportedly wrote in the letter. Merkel indicated that she would not formally respond to the letter, saying it contained "totally unacceptable" criticism of Israel and "constantly put in question" the Jewish state's right to exist.
In a September 2006 with NBC Nightly News Anchor Brian Williams, Ahmadinejad clarified his remarks, saying that when he called the Holocaust a myth he was merely trying to communicate that it was not just Jews that died, but millions of people and he wants to know why it is the Palestinian people that have to pay for the Nazis' slaughter of the Jewish people.
In the second World War, over 60 million people lost their lives. They were all human beings. Why is it that only a select group of those who were killed have become so prominent and important? Do you think that the 60 million who lost their lives were all at the result of warfare alone? There were two million that were part of the military at the time, perhaps altogether, 50 million civilians with no roles in the war Christians, Muslims. They were all killed. The second and more important question that I raised was, if this event happened, and if it is a historical event, then we should allow everyone to research it and study it. The more research and studies are done, the more we can become aware of the realities that happened. We still leave open to further studies absolute knowledge of science or math. Historical events are always subject to revisions, and reviews and studies. We're still revising our thoughts about what happened over thousands of years ago. Why is it that those who ask questions are persecuted? Why is every word so sensitivity or such prohibition on further studies on the subject? Where as we can openly question God, the prophet, concepts such as freedom and democracy? And the third question that I raised in this regard: if this happened, where did it happen? Did the Palestinian people have anything to do with it? Why should the Palestinians pay for it now? Five million displaced Palestinian people is what I'm talking about. Over 60 years of living under threat. Losing the lives of thousands of dear ones. And homes that are destroyed on a daily basis over people's heads. You might argue that the Jews have the right to have a government. We're not against that. But where? At a place where their people were several people will vote for them, and where they can govern.
On December 11, 2006 the "International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust" opened, to widespread condemnation. The conference, called for by and held at the behest of Ahmadinejad, was widely described as a "Holocaust denial conference" or a "meeting of Holocaust deniers", though Iran insisted it was not a Holocaust denial conference.
Within Iran, Ahmadinejad's statements on the Holocaust have also been criticized by cleric and presidential hopeful Mahdi Karroubi.
Accusations of anti-semitism
Criticism of Ahmadinejad's comments denying the Holocaust and calling for Israel to be "wiped off the map" has come from the U.S. Senate, which passed a unanimous resolution condemning his "harmful, destructive, and anti-semitic statements." Identification of Ahmadinejad with anti-semitism has come from a variety of sources.
The Iranian government has responded that "the Western media empire is trying to portray Iran as an anti-semitic country" and alternate translations have been cited to contradict the accusations. Currently, 40,000 Jews live in Iran and have representation in the Iranian parliament in the form of a Jewish MP, Maurice Mohtamed. Their treatment is a matter of great debate, some stating that the Jews are treated better than other religious minorities in Iran.
In addition Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has stated that "Jews are respected by everyone, by all human beings ... some people think if they accuse me of being anti-Jew they can solve the problem. No, I am not anti-Jew ... I respect them very much ... We love everyone in the world Jews, Christians, Muslims, non-Muslims, non-Jews, non-Christians".
Ahmadinejad's September 2008 speech to the UN General Assembly, in which he dwelled on what he described as Zionist control of international finance, was denounced as "blatant anti-Semitism" by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Defense of Ahmadinejad
Regarding Ahmadinejad's statements on Israel and the Holocaust, Shiraz Dossa, a tenured professor at St. Francis Xavier University, in Nova Scotia, Canada, wrote in June 2007 that "Ahmadinejad has not denied the Holocaust or proposed Israels liquidation; he has never done so in any of his speeches on the subject (all delivered in Farsi/Persian). As an Iran specialist, I can attest that both accusations are false... What Ahmadinejad has questioned is the mythologizing, the sacralization, of the Holocaust and the Zionist regimes continued killing of Palestinians and Muslims. He has even raised doubts about the scale of the Holocaust. His rhetoric has been excessive and provocative. And he does not really care what we in the West think about Iran or Muslims; he does not kowtow to western or Israeli diktat."
Reaction to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke
On January 4, 2006, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a massive haemorrhagic stroke and was widely reported to be dead or near death. The next day President Ahmadinejad spoke to Shi'a clerics in the city of Qom. Speaking of Sharon he said:
Hopefully, the news that the criminal of Sabra and Shatila has joined his ancestors is final.
The United States quickly condemned Ahmadinejad's comment as "hateful and disgusting" and U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack called Ahmadinejad's remarks "part of a continuing stream of hateful invective that has come from this president."
Reaction to 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict
On July 15 2006, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad compared the actions of Israel in launching an offensive against Lebanon to that of Nazi Germany. "Hitler sought pretexts to attack other nations," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by the ISNA students news agency at the inauguration of a Tehran road tunnel. "The Zionist regime is seeking baseless pretexts to invade Islamic countries and right now it is justifying its attacks with groundless excuses," he added.
On Aug 3rd, 2006, in a speech during an emergency meeting of Muslim leaders, Ahmadinejad called for "the elimination of the Zionist regime". While some media outlets immediately interpreted his words as another threat to "destroy Israel", such interpretations have again been challenged. In the speech, Ahmadinejad said, "although the main solution is for the elimination of the Zionist regime, at this stage an immediate cease-fire must be implemented". He stated that the Middle East would be better off "without the existence of the Zionist regime". He called Israel an "illegitimate regime" with "no legal basis for its existence" and accused the United States of using Israel as a proxy to control the region and its oil resources; "The Zionist regime is used to reach this objective. The sole existence of this regime is for invasion and attack."
July 2008 speech by Rahim Mashaei
Esfandyar Rahim Mashaei, Vice President and Head of Cultural Heritage Organization of Iran, proclaimed Iran a friend to the people in Israel in his speech at a tourism convention in Tehran. This sentiment is similar to the "one state" solution [Israel should not be an state of only Jews and it should be for all the people whether Jewish, Muslim, or Christian who live in the area]. He also added that Iran "wants no war with any country," and insisted that Iran's actions during its war with Iraq were purely defensive.
Hard-liners close to the government pounced on Mashaei's remarks. But Ahmadinejad appeared to back up Mashaei, voicing sympathy for the Israeli people, even as he predicted Israel's demise." he said at a news conference
"The Iranian nation never recognized Israel and will never ever recognize it ... But we feel pity for those who have been deceived or smuggled into Israel to be oppressed citizens in Israel."
The issue prompted Iran's top political and military figure, Supreme Leader Khamenei, to "to spell an end to any debates" about Iran's position on the people of Israeli, during a Friday sermon in Tehran, saying
"It is incorrect, irrational, pointless and nonsense to say that we are friends of Israeli people ... Who are Israelis?" ... They are responsible for usurping houses, territory, farmlands and businesses. ... A Muslim nation cannot remain indifferent vis-a-vis such people who are stooges at the service of the arch-foes of the Muslim world."
Jonathan Steele - guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 14 June 2006 12.49 BST
Lost in translation
Experts confirm that Iran's president did not call for Israel to be 'wiped off the map'. Reports that he did serve to strengthen western hawks.
My recent comment piece explaining how Iran's president was badly misquoted when he allegedly called for Israel to be "wiped off the map" has caused a welcome little storm. The phrase has been seized on by western and Israeli hawks to re-double suspicions of the Iranian government's intentions, so it is important to get the truth of what he really said.
I took my translation - "the regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time" - from the indefatigable Professor Juan Cole's website where it has been for several weeks.
But it seems to be mainly thanks to the Guardian giving it prominence that the New York Times, which was one of the first papers to misquote Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, came out on Sunday with a defensive piece attempting to justify its reporter's original "wiped off the map" translation. (By the way, for Farsi speakers the original version is available here.)
Joining the "off the map" crowd is David Aaronovitch, a columnist on the Times (of London), who attacked my analysis yesterday. I won't waste time on him since his knowledge of Farsi is as minimal as that of his Latin. The poor man thinks the plural of casus belli is casi belli, unaware that casus is fourth declension with the plural casus (long u).
The New York Times's Ethan Bronner and Nazila Fathi, one of the paper's Tehran staff, make a more serious case. They consulted several sources in Tehran. "Sohrab Mahdavi, one of Iran's most prominent translators, and Siamak Namazi, managing director of a Tehran consulting firm, who is bilingual, both say 'wipe off' or 'wipe away' is more accurate than 'vanish' because the Persian verb is active and transitive," Bronner writes.
The New York Times goes on: "The second translation issue concerns the word 'map'. Khomeini's words were abstract: 'Sahneh roozgar.' Sahneh means scene or stage, and roozgar means time. The phrase was widely interpreted as 'map', and for years, no one objected. In October, when Mr Ahmadinejad quoted Khomeini, he actually misquoted him, saying not 'Sahneh roozgar' but 'Safheh roozgar', meaning pages of time or history. No one noticed the change, and news agencies used the word 'map' again."
This, in my view, is the crucial point and I'm glad the NYT accepts that the word "map" was not used by Ahmadinejad. (By the way, the Wikipedia entry on the controversy gets the NYT wrong, claiming falsely that Ethan Bronner "concluded that Ahmadinejad had in fact said that Israel was to be wiped off the map".)
If the Iranian president made a mistake and used "safheh" rather than "sahneh", that is of little moment. A native English speaker could equally confuse "stage of history" with "page of history". The significant issue is that both phrases refer to time rather than place. As I wrote in my original post, the Iranian president was expressing a vague wish for the future. He was not threatening an Iranian-initiated war to remove Israeli control over Jerusalem.
Two other well-established translation sources confirm that Ahmadinejad was referring to time, not place. The version of the October 26 2005 speech put out by the Middle East Media Research Institute, based on the Farsi text released by the official Iranian Students News Agency, says: "This regime that is occupying Qods [Jerusalem] must be eliminated from the pages of history." (NB: not "wiped". I accept that "eliminated" is almost the same, indeed some might argue it is more sinister than "wiped", though it is a bit more of a mouthful if you are trying to find four catchy and easily memorable words with which to incite anger against Iran.)
MEMRI (its text of the speech is available here) is headed by a former Isareli military intelligence officer and has sometimes been attacked for alleged distortion of Farsi and Arabic quotations for the benefit of Israeli foreign policy. On this occasion they supported the doveish view of what Ahmadinejad said.
Finally we come to the BBC monitoring service which every day puts out hundreds of highly respected English translations of broadcasts from all round the globe to their subscribers - mainly governments, intelligence services, thinktanks and other specialists. I approached them this week about the controversy and a spokesperson for the monitoring service's marketing unit, who did not want his name used, told me their original version of the Ahmadinejad quote was "eliminated from the map of the world".
As a result of my inquiry and the controversy generated, they had gone back to the native Farsi-speakers who had translated the speech from a voice recording made available by Iranian TV on October 29 2005. Here is what the spokesman told me about the "off the map" section: "The monitor has checked again. It's a difficult expression to translate. They're under time pressure to produce a translation quickly and they were searching for the right phrase. With more time to reflect they would say the translation should be "eliminated from the page of history".
Would the BBC put out a correction, given that the issue had become so controversial, I asked. "It would be a long time after the original version", came the reply. I interpret that as "probably not", but let's see.
Finally, I approached Iradj Bagherzade, the Iranian-born founder and chairman of the renowned publishing house, IB Tauris. He thought hard about the word "roozgar". "History" was not the right word, he said, but he could not decide between several better alternatives "this day and age", "these times", "our times", "time".
So there we have it. Starting with Juan Cole, and going via the New York Times' experts through MEMRI to the BBC's monitors, the consensus is that Ahmadinejad did not talk about any maps. He was, as I insisted in my original piece, offering a vague wish for the future.
A very last point. The fact that he compared his desired option - the elimination of "the regime occupying Jerusalem" - with the fall of the Shah's regime in Iran makes it crystal clear that he is talking about regime change, not the end of Israel. As a schoolboy opponent of the Shah in the 1970's he surely did not favour Iran's removal from the page of time. He just wanted the Shah out.
The same with regard to Israel. The Iranian president is undeniably an opponent of Zionism or, if you prefer the phrase, the Zionist regime. But so are substantial numbers of Israeli citizens, Jews as well as Arabs. The anti-Zionist and non-Zionist traditions in Israel are not insignificant. So we should not demonise Ahmadinejad on those grounds alone.
Does this quibbling over phrases matter? Yes, of course. Within days of the Ahmadinejad speech the then Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, was calling for Iran to be expelled from the United Nations. Other foreign leaders have quoted the map phrase. The United States is piling pressure on its allies to be tough with Iran.
Let me give the last word to Juan Cole, with whom I began. "I am entirely aware that Ahmadinejad is hostile to Israel. The question is whether his intentions and capabilities would lead to a military attack, and whether therefore pre-emptive warfare is prescribed. I am saying no, and the boring philology is part of the reason for the no."
Gaza 2009 - Over het Nieuwjaarsvuurwerk van Israël - Chronologie van een aangekondigde ramp - PART I (5)
Begin deel (5) ...Het vervolg...!!
Jonathan Steele geeft een duidelijk overzicht van enkele kanttekeningen die worden geplaatst bij de toch wel slordige vertaling van de woorden van Ahmadinejad. Maar ook het volgende artikel stelt een aantal flinke vragen bij de wijze waarop de bevolkingen van de zogenaamde "Vrije Westersche Wereld" nog maar eens worden geïnformeerd over de toestand in het Midden Oosten.
Does Iran's President Want Israel Wiped Off The Map - Does He Deny The Holocaust?
An analysis of media rhetoric on its way to war against Iran - Commenting on the alleged statements of Iran's President Ahmadinejad .
By Anneliese Fikentscher and Andreas Neumann
Translation to English: Erik Appleby
04/19/06 "Kein Krieg!" -- -- - "But now that I'm on Iran, the threat to Iran, of course -- (applause) -- the threat from Iran is, of course, their stated objective to destroy our strong ally Israel. That's a threat, a serious threat. It's a threat to world peace; it's a threat, in essence, to a strong alliance. I made it clear, I'll make it clear again, that we will use military might to protect our ally, Israel, and -- (applause.)" George W. Bush, US-President, 2006-03-20 in Cleveland (Ohio) in an off-the-cuff speech (source: www.whitehouse.gov) But why does Bush speak of Iran's objective to destroy Israel?
Does Iran's President wants Israel wiped off the map?
To raze Israel to the ground, to batter down, to destroy, to annihilate, to liquidate, to erase Israel, to wipe it off the map - this is what Iran's President demanded - at least this is what we read about or heard of at the end of October 2005. Spreading the news was very effective. This is a declaration of war they said. Obviously government and media were at one with their indignation. It goes around the world.
But let's take a closer look at what Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said. It is a merit of the 'New York Times' that they placed the complete speech at our disposal. Here's an excerpt from the publication dated 2005-10-30:
"They say it is not possible to have a world without the United States and Zionism. But you know that this is a possible goal and slogan. Let's take a step back. [[[We had a hostile regime in this country which was undemocratic, armed to the teeth and, with SAVAK, its security apparatus of SAVAK [the intelligence bureau of the Shah of Iran's government] watched everyone. An environment of terror existed.]]] When our dear Imam [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Iranian revolution] said that the regime must be removed, many of those who claimed to be politically well-informed said it was not possible. All the corrupt governments were in support of the regime when Imam Khomeini started his movement. [[[All the Western and Eastern countries supported the regime even after the massacre of September 7  ]]] and said the removal of the regime was not possible. But our people resisted and it is 27 years now that we have survived without a regime dependent on the United States. The tyranny of the East and the West over the world should have to end, but weak people who can see only what lies in front of them cannot believe this. Who would believe that one day we could witness the collapse of the Eastern Empire? But we could watch its fall in our lifetime. And it collapsed in a way that we have to refer to libraries because no trace of it is left. Imam [Khomeini] said Saddam must go and he said he would grow weaker than anyone could imagine. Now you see the man who spoke with such arrogance ten years ago that one would have thought he was immortal, is being tried in his own country in handcuffs and shackles [[[by those who he believed supported him and with whose backing he committed his crimes]]]. Our dear Imam said that the occupying regime must be wiped off the map and this was a very wise statement. We cannot compromise over the issue of Palestine. Is it possible to create a new front in the heart of an old front. This would be a defeat and whoever accepts the legitimacy of this regime [Israel] has in fact, signed the defeat of the Islamic world. Our dear Imam targeted the heart of the world oppressor in his struggle, meaning the occupying regime. I have no doubt that the new wave that has started in Palestine, and we witness it in the Islamic world too, will eliminate this disgraceful stain from the Islamic world."
(source: www.nytimes.com, based on a publication of 'Iranian Students News Agency' (ISNA) -- insertions by the New York Times in squared brackets -- passages in triple squared brackets will be left blank in the MEMRI version printed below)
It's becoming clear. The statements of the Iranian President have been reflected by the media in a manipulated way. Iran's President betokens the removal of the regimes, that are in power in Israel and in the USA, to be possible aim for the future. This is correct. But he never demands the elimination or annihilation of Israel. He reveals that changes are potential. The Shah-Regime being supported by the USA in its own country has been vanquished. The eastern governance of the Soviet Union collapsed. Saddam Hussein's dominion drew to a close. Referring to this he voices his aspiration that changes will also be feasible in Israel respectively in Palestine. He adduces Ayatollah Khomeini referring to the Shah-Regime who in this context said that the regime (meaning the Shah-Regime) should be removed.
Certainly, Ahmadinejad translates this quotation about a change of regime into the occupied Palestine. This has to be legitimate. To long for modified political conditions in a country is a world-wide day-to-day business by all means. But to commute a demand for removal of a 'regime' into a demand for removal of a state is serious deception and dangerous demagogy.
This is one chapter of the war against Iran that has already begun with the words of Georg Meggle, professor of philosophy at the university of Leipzig - namely with the probably most important phase, the phase of propaganda.
Marginally we want to mention that it was the former US Vice-Minister of Defence and current President of the World Bank, Paul D. Wolfowitz, who in Sept. 2001 talked about ending states in public and without any kind of awe. And it was the father of George W. Bush who started the discussion about a winnable nuclear war if only the survival of an elite is assured.
Let's pick an example: the German online-news-magazine tagesschau.de writes the following about Iran's president on 2005-10-27: "There is no doubt: the new wave of assaults in Palestine will erase the stigma in countenance of the Islamic world." Instead of using the original word 'wave' they write 'wave of assaults'. This replacement of the original text is what we call disinformation. E.g. it would be correct to say: "The new movement in Palestine will erase the stain of disgrace from the Islamic world." Additionally this statement refers to the occupation regime mentioned in the previous sentence.
As a precaution we will examine a different translation of the speech - a version prepared by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), located in Washington:
"They [ask]: 'Is it possible for us to witness a world without America and Zionism?' But you had best know that this slogan and this goal are attainable, and surely can be achieved. [[[...]]] "'When the dear Imam [Khomeini] said that [the Shah's] regime must go, and that we demand a world without dependent governments, many people who claimed to have political and other knowledge [asked], 'Is it possible [that the Shah's regime can be toppled]?' That day, when Imam [Khomeini] began his movement, all the powers supported [the Shah's] corrupt regime [[[...]]] and said it was not possible. However, our nation stood firm, and by now we have, for 27 years, been living without a government dependent on America. Imam [Khomeni] said: 'The rule of the East [U.S.S.R.] and of the West [U.S.] should be ended.' But the weak people who saw only the tiny world near them did not believe it. Nobody believed that we would one day witness the collapse of the Eastern Imperialism [i.e. the U.S.S.R], and said it was an iron regime. But in our short lifetime we have witnessed how this regime collapsed in such a way that we must look for it in libraries, and we can find no literature about it. Imam [Khomeini] said that Saddam [Hussein] must go, and that he would be humiliated in a way that was unprecedented. And what do you see today? A man who, 10 years ago, spoke as proudly as if he would live for eternity is today chained by the feet, and is now being tried in his own country [[[...]]] Imam [Khomeini] said: 'This regime that is occupying Qods [Jerusalem] must be eliminated from the pages of history.' This sentence is very wise. The issue of Palestine is not an issue on which we can compromise. Is it possible that an [Islamic] front allows another front [i.e. country] to arise in its [own] heart? This means defeat, and he who accepts the existence of this regime [i.e. Israel] in fact signs the defeat of the Islamic world. In his battle against the World of Arrogance, our dear Imam [Khomeini] set the regime occupying Qods [Jerusalem] as the target of his fight. I do not doubt that the new wave which has begun in our dear Palestine and which today we are also witnessing in the Islamic world is a wave of morality which has spread all over the Islamic world. Very soon, this stain of disgrace [i.e. Israel] will vanish from the center of the Islamic world - and this is attainable."
(source: http://memri.org, based on the publication of 'Iranian Students News Agency' (ISNA) -- insertions by MEMRI in squared brackets -- missing passages compared to the 'New York Times' in triple squared brackets)
The term 'map' to which the media refer at length does not even appear. Whereas the 'New York Times' said: "Our dear Imam said that the occupying regime must be wiped off the map" the version by MEMRI is: "Imam [Khomeini] said: This regime that is occupying Qods [Jerusalem] must be eliminated from the pages of history."
MEMRI added the following prefixed formulation to their translation as a kind of title: "Very Soon, This Stain of Disgrace [i.e. Israel] Will Be Purged From the Center of the Islamic World - and This is Attainable". Thereby they take it out of context by using the insertion 'i.e. Israel' they distort the meaning on purpose. The temporal tapering 'very soon' does not appear in the NY-Times-translation either. Besides it is striking that MEMRI deleted all passages in their translation which characterize the US-supported Shah-Regime as a regime of terror and at the same time show the true character of US-American policy.
An independent translation of the original (like the version published by ISNA) yields that Ahmadinejad does not use the term 'map'. He quotes Ayatollah Khomeini's assertion that the occupation regime must vanish from this world - literally translated: from the arena of times. Correspondingly: there is no space for an occupation regime in this world respectively in this time. The formulation 'wipe off the map' used by the 'New York Times' is a very free and aggravating interpretation which is equivalent to 'razing something to the ground' or 'annihilating something'. The downwelling translation, first into English ('wipe off the map'), then from English to German - and all literally ('von der Landkarte löschen') - makes us stride away from the original more and more. The perfidious thing about this translation is that the expression 'map' can only be used in one (intentional) way: a state can be removed from a map but not a regime, about which Ahmadinejad is actually speaking.
Again following the independent translation: "I have no doubt that the new movement taking place in our dear Palestine is a spiritual movement which is spanning the entire Islamic world and which will soon remove this stain of disgrace from the Islamic world".
It must be allowed to ask how it is possible that 'spirtual movement' resp. 'wave of morality' (as translated by MEMRI) and 'wave of assaults' can be equated and translated (like e.g tagesschau.de published it).
Does Iran's President deny the Holocaust?
"The German government condemned the repetitive offending anti-Israel statements by Ahmadinejad to be shocking. Such behaviour is not tolerable, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier stated. [...] Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel proclaimed Ahmadinejad's statements to be 'inconceivable'" (published by tagesschau.de 2005-12-14.
But not only the German Foreign Minister Steinmeier and the Federal Chancellor Merkel allege this, but the Bild-Zeitung, tagesschau.de, parts of the peace movement, US-President George W. Bush, the 'Papers for German and international politics', CNN, the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation, almost the entire world does so, too: Iran's President Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust.
What is this assertion based on? In substance it is based on dispatches of 2 days - 2005-12-14 and 2006-02-11.
"The Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has stepped up his verbal attacks against Israel and the Western states and has denied the Holocaust. Instead of making Israel's attacks against Palestine a subject of discussion 'the Western states devote their energy to the fairy-tale of the massacre against the Jews', Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday in a speech at Zahedan in the south-east of Iran which was broadcasted directly by the news-channel Khabar. That day he stated that if the Western states really believe in the assassination of six million Jews in W.W. II they should put a piece of land in Europe, in the USA, Canada or Alaska at Israel's disposal." - dispatch of the German press agency DPA, 2005-12-14.
The German TV-station n24 spreads the following on 2006-12-14 using the title 'Iran's President calls the Holocaust a myth': "The Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has stepped up his verbal attacks against Israel and called the Holocaust a 'myth' used as a pretext by the Europeans to found a Jewish state in the center of the Islamic world . 'In the name of the Holocaust they have created a myth and regard it to be worthier than God, religion and the prophets' the Iranian head of state said."
The Iranian press agency IRNA renders Ahmadinejad on 2005-12-14 as follows: "'If the Europeans are telling the truth in their claim that they have killed six million Jews in the Holocaust during the World War II - which seems they are right in their claim because they insist on it and arrest and imprison those who oppose it, why the Palestinian nation should pay for the crime. Why have they come to the very heart of the Islamic world and are committing crimes against the dear Palestine using their bombs, rockets, missiles and sanctions.' [...] 'If you have committed the crimes so give a piece of your land somewhere in Europe or America and Canada or Alaska to them to set up their own state there.' [...] Ahmadinejad said some have created a myth on holocaust and hold it even higher than the very belief in religion and prophets [...] The president further said, 'If your civilization consists of aggression, displacing the oppressed nations, suppressing justice-seeking voices and spreading injustice and poverty for the majority of people on the earth, then we say it out loud that we despise your hollow civilization.'"
There again we find the quotation already rendered by n24: "In the name of the Holocaust they created a myth." We can see that this is completely different from what is published by e.g. the DPA - the massacre against the Jews is a fairy-tale. What Ahmadinejad does is not denying the Holocaust. No! It is dealing out criticism against the mendacity of the imperialistic powers who use the Holocaust to muzzle critical voices and to achieve advantages concerning the legitimization of a planned war. This is criticism against the exploitation of the Holocaust.
CNN (2005-12-15) renders as follows: "If you have burned the Jews why don't you give a piece of Europe, the United States, Canada or Alaska to Israel. Our question is, if you have committed this huge crime, why should the innocent nation of Palestine pay for this crime?"
The Washingtonian ''Middle East Media Research Institute' (MEMRI) renders Ahmadinejad's statements from 2005-12-14 as follows: "...we ask you: if you indeed committed this great crime, why should the oppressed people of Palestine be punished for it? * [...] If you committed a crime, you yourselves should pay for it. Our offer was and remains as follows: If you committed a crime, it is only appropriate that you place a piece of your land at their disposal - a piece of Europe, of America, of Canada, or of Alaska - so they can establish their own state. Rest assured that if you do so, the Iranian people will voice no objection."
The MEMRI-rendering uses the relieving translation 'great crime' and misappropriates the following sentence at the * marked passage: "Why have they come to the very heart of the Islamic world and are committing crimes against the dear Palestine using their bombs, rockets, missiles and sanctions." This sentence has obviously been left out deliberately because it would intimate why the Israeli state could have forfeited the right to establish itself in Palestine - videlicet because of its aggressive expansionist policy against the people of Palestine, ignoring any law of nations and disobeying all UN-resolutions.
In spite of the variability referring to the rendering of the statements of Iran's President we should nevertheless note down: the reproach of denying the Holocaust cannot be sustained if Ahmadinejad speaks of a great and huge crime that has been done to the Jews.
In another IRNA-dispatch (2005-12-14) the Arabian author Ghazi Abu Daqa writes about Ahmadinejad: "The Iranian president has nothing against the followers of Judaism [...] Ahmadinejad is against Zionism as well as its expansionist and occupying policy. That is why he managed to declare to the world with courage that there is no place for the Zionist regime in the world civilized community."
It's no wonder that such opinions do not go down particularly well with the ideas of the centers of power in the Western world. But for this reason they are not wrong right away. Dealing out criticism against the aggressive policy of the Western world, to which Israel belongs as well, is not yet anti-Semitism. We should at least to give audience to this kind of criticism - even if it is a problematic field for us.
2006-02-11 Ahmadinejad said according to IRNA: "[...] the real holocaust should be sought in Palestine, where the blood of the oppressed nation is shed every day and Iraq, where the defenceless Muslim people are killed daily. [...] 'Some western governments, in particular the US, approve of the sacrilege on the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), while denial of the "Myth of Holocaust", based on which the Zionists have been exerting pressure upon other countries for the past 60 years and kill the innocent Palestinians, is considered as a crime' [...]"
The assertion that Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust thus is wrong in more than one aspect. He does not deny the Holocaust, but speaks of denial itself. And he does not speak of denial of the Holocaust, but of denial of the Myth of Holocaust. This is something totally different. All in all he speaks of the exploitation of the Holocaust. The Myth of Holocaust, like it is made a subject of discussion by Ahmadinejad, is a myth that has been built up in conjunction with the Holocaust to - as he says - put pressure onto somebody. We might follow this train of thoughts or we might not. But we cannot equalize his thoughts with denial of the Holocaust.
If Ahmadinejad according to this 2006-02-11 condemns the fact that it is forbidden and treated as a crime to do research into the Myth of Holocaust, as we find it quoted in the MEMRI translation, this acquires a meaning much different from the common and wide-spread one. If the myth related to the Holocaust is commuted to a 'Fairy Tale of the Massacre' - like the DPA did - this can only be understood as a malicious misinterpretation.
By the use of misrepresentation and adulteration it apparently succeeded to constitute the statements of the Iranian President to be part and parcel of the currently fought propaganda battle. It is our responsibility to counter this.
A dispatch by Reuters confirms 2006-02-21: "The Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki has [...] repudiated that his state would want the Jewish state Israel 'wiped off the map'. [...] Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had been misunderstood. 'Nobody can erase a country from the map.' Ahmadinejad was not thinking of the state of Israel but of their regime [...]. 'We do not accredit this regime to be legitimate.' [...] Mottaki also accepted that the Holocaust really took place in a way that six million Jews were murdered during the era of National Socialism."
The next step is to connect the Iranian President with Hitler. 2006-02-20 the Chairman of the Counsil of Jews in France (Crif) says in Paris: "The Iranian President's assertions do not rank behind Hitler's 'Mein Kampf'". Paul Spiegel, President of the Central Counsil of Jews in Germany, 2005-12-10 in the 'Welt' qualifies the statements of Ahmadinejad to be "the worst comment on this subject that he has ever heard of a statesman since A. Hitler". At the White House the Iranian President is even named Hitler. And the German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel as well moves over Iran's President towards Hitler and National Socialism by saying 2006-02-04 in Munich: "Already in the early 1930's many people said that it is only rhetoric. One could have prevented a lot in time if one had acted... Germany is in the debt to resist the incipiencies and to do anything to make clear where the limit of tolerance is. Iran remains in control of the situation, it is still in their hands."
All this indicates war. Slobodan Milosevic became Hitler. The result was the war of the Nato against Yugoslavia. Saddam Hussein became Hitler. What followed was the war the USA and their coalition of compliant partners waged against Iraq. Now the Iranian President becomes Hitler.
And someone who is Hitler-like can assure a hundred times that he only wants to use nuclear energy in a peaceful way. Nobody will believe him. Somebody like Hitler can act within the scope of all contracts. Acting contrary to contract will nevertheless be imputed to him. "Virtually none of the Western states recognize that uranium enrichment is absolutely legal. There is no restriction by contract or by the law of nations. Quite the contrary: Actually the Western countries would have the duty to assist Iran with these activities, according to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. As long as a state renounces the bomb it is eligible for technical support by the nuclear powers." (Jörg Pfuhl, ARD radio studio Istanbul 2006-01-11) But - all this does not count if the Head of a state is stigmatized as Hitler.
Ook onze eigen Minister van Buitenlandse zaken (als er intussen al weer geen andere is) Karel De Gucht blijft in interviews herhalden dat Iran Israel "van de kaart wil vegen", terwijl hij toch wel beter geïnformeerd zou mogen zijn? Of doet hij 't met opzet zodat België binnenkort makkelijker mee kan opstappen in de Amerikaanse oorlogsretoriek ?!...
De Gucht veroordeelt uitspraken Iraanse president
Minister van Buitenlandse Zaken Karel De Gucht veroordeelt met klem de uitspraken van de Iraanse president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad die stelt dat "Israël van de kaart moet geveegd worden".
Deze uitspraken zijn volstrekt onaanvaardbaar, zegt Karel De Gucht. "België zal dit soort haatdragend taalgebruik nooit tolereren en ik zal me ook persoonlijk steeds blijven inzetten om dit te bekampen."
De Gucht herinnert tevens aan het bestaansrecht van Israël, dat door menige resoluties van de Verenigde Naties bevestigd wordt. Minister De Gucht heeft beslist om de Iraanse ambassadeur te laten ontbieden op Buitenlandse Zaken om uitleg te verschaffen over de uitlatingen van de president van zijn land. "Dit voorval berokkent ernstige schade aan de internationale positie van Iran", besluit De Gucht. In andere Europese landen worden eveneens de Iraanse ambassadeurs ontboden om tekst en uitleg te verschaffen over de uitlatingen van hun president.
Ook VLD-volksvertegenwoordiger en Claude Marinower is verontwaardigd en geschokt door de uitspraken van de Iraanse president. "Dergelijke onaanvaardbare fundamentalistische uitspraken kunnen niet getolereerd worden", aldus de volksvertegenwoordiger.
Wereld geschokt over nieuwe dreigementen van Iraanse president
Israël laat zich niet straffeloos intimideren
De Iraanse president Ahmadinejad wordt bedolven onder de kritiek voor zijn nieuwe bedreiging aan het adres van Israël. ,,Een gevaarlijk man'', reageren de Israëli's. Maar de joodse staat wacht niet af, en bereidt zich volop voor om de dreiging van het Iraanse atoomprogramma te pareren.
In oktober zei Ahmadinejad al dat Israël van de kaart moest worden geveegd. Eergisteren zei hij in Mekka dat Duitsland, Oostenrijk of een ander Europees land maar een paar provincies moesten vrijmaken voor een joodse staat.
Retoriek of gemeend? Feit is dat Israël niet lijdzaam afwacht. Het land heeft al ongeveer de helft van de 102 F-16I's ontvangen die het bestelde in de VS. Met hun extra grote brandstoftanks kunnen deze oorlogsvliegtuigen Iran bereiken. In Duitsland heeft Israël voorts twee onderzeeërs besteld die atoomwapens op Iran zouden kunnen afvuren.
Vorige week heeft Israël met succes zijn Arrow-raketdefensie getest tegen een raket die veel gelijkt op de Iraanse Shahab-3, die kan worden uitgerust met een kernkop om Israël te raken of Amerikaanse doelen in het Midden-Oosten.
Vooraanstaande Israëlische politici bespreken openlijk de mogelijkheid voor een ,,militaire optie'', ofwel alleen, ofwel samen met andere landen. Deze week zei premier Sharon dat Israël ,,natuurlijk'' de capaciteit heeft om het Iraanse atoomprogramma uit te schakelen. Zijn rivaal Netanyahu zei zelfs dat hij akkoord kon gaan met een ,,preventieve aanval''. Legerchef Dan Halutz vond dat diplomatie druk ontoereikend is om te voorkomen dat Teheran een atoombom maakt, en dat een militaire oplossing wellicht noodzakelijk zou zijn.
Eenvoudig zal dat niet zijn. In 1981 kon de Israëlische luchtmacht nog vernietigend uithalen naar een Iraakse kernreactor in aanbouw. De Iraniërs hebben die les goed geleerd. Ze hebben hun atoomfaciliteiten verspreid over het (uitgestrekte) land en sommige bevinden zich ondergronds of in de bergen. Het Iraanse afweergeschut wordt bovendien steeds moderner.
Of rekent Israël op de VS? President George Bush heeft Europa de tijd gegeven om via diplomatie Teheran op betere gedachten te brengen, maar hij heet ook gezegd dat hij niet zal toestaan dat Iran over kernwapens zal beschikken.
Zoals kon worden verwacht lokte de nieuwe aanval van president Ahmadinejad felle reacties uit. Zeker in Duitsland, waar het ontkennen van de Holocaust een misdaad is. Duitsland zal de Iraanse ambassadeur op het matje roepen. Ook Oostenrijk besloot tot deze maatregel.
Israël veroordeelde Ahmadinejdads opmerkingen als ,,ongehoord en zelfs racistisch''. de VS bestempelde ze als ,,ontstellend en laakbaar''.
In de ogen van onze minister van Buitenlandse Zaken De Gucht bevestigt Ahmadinejad ,,dat hij een onverzettelijke vijand is van de staat Israël'', en brengt hij met zijn nieuwe uitlating ,,de positie van zijn land ernstig schade toe''.
Reactie Minister De Gucht op de uitspraken over Israël van de Iraanse President
Minister van Buitenlandse Zaken Karel De Gucht veroordeelt met klem de uitspraken van de Iraanse President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad die stelt dat "Israel van de kaart moet geveegd worden". Deze zijn "volstrekt onaanvaardbaar", aldus de Minister.
Minister van Buitenlandse Zaken Karel De Gucht veroordeelt met klem de uitspraken van de Iraanse President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad die stelt dat "Israel van de kaart moet geveegd worden". Deze zijn "volstrekt onaanvaardbaar", aldus de Minister.
Minister De Gucht: "België zal dit soort van haatdragend taalgebruik nooit tolereren en ik zal me ook persoonlijk steeds blijven inzetten om dit te bekampen". Hij herinnert tevens aan het bestaansrecht van Israël, dat door menige resoluties van de Verenigde Naties bevestigd wordt.
De Minister heeft beslist om de Iraanse Ambassadeur vandaag nog te laten ontbieden op Buitenlandse Zaken om uitleg te verschaffen over de uitlatingen van de President van zijn land.
"Dit voorval berokkent ernstige schade aan de internationale positie van Iran." aldus tot slot Minister De Gucht
Dit is eigenlijk allemaal niet eens zo erg belangrijk, alleszins niet op dit moment. ...& Voor de mensen in Israël & de Bezette Gebieden zelf maakt 't op dit moment ook geen bàl uit.
Overigens.. euhh.. nu we eraan terugdenken... in onze tweede paragraaf hebben wij zelf ook eigenlijk melding gemaakt dat we staten en naties het liefst van al zouden zien verdwijnen, en teneinde te vermijden dat er vanaf heden elke dag een R4'ke voor onze deur postvat met daarin twee mannen met lange pardessus willen we graag even verduidelijken dat we dus helemaal niet bedoelden dat Staten of Naties van de kaart dienen te worden geveegd, maar wél dat wij geloven dat het voor de mensen een goede zaak zou kunnen zijn indien staatsgrenzen zouden kunnen verdampen, niét door nucleaire inslagen, maar wel door de overtolligheid ervan, zoals bijvoorbeeld de Belgische Senaat, die hier eigenlijk toch ook alleen maar overbodig is geworden (hoewel ze er nog steeds staat).
Om nu terug te keren naar het Midden Oosten conflict zelf, er zijn een aantal scenario's die op tafel liggen, en waarschijnlijk zal het nog het meest van Israël zélf afhangen of er ooit vrede kan komen en of Israël ooit zal blijven bestaan of dat het Israëlische staatsmodel zal verdampen of van de kaart zal worden geveegd, 't is maar hoe u 't wil lezen.
1) Israël kan op militair gebied gemakkelijk elke militaire confrontatie aan. Het is na de VS zowat het best uitgeruste militaire apparaat ter wereld, ontvangt vanwege de USA jaarlijks voor een goeie 4 miljard euro aan militaire middelen en materiaal, besteedt zelf een goeie 20 - 25 % van z'n totale BNP aan defensie, zo tussen de 8 à 10 miljard euro per jaar, waarmee ze wereldwijd zo ongeveer de 17e positie innemen. Niet slecht voor een landje met een goeie 7.1 miljoen inwoners (waarvan een goeie 20 % "Israelische Arabieren")
Noot: Iran heeft een militair budget van +/- 4 miljard euro / jaar, ofte ongeveer 2.5% van het BNP op een bevolking van 72 miljoen mensen. Peanuts dus, in vergelijking met wat andere staten aan hun militaire apparaat besteden.
Last update - 02:04 28/12/2007
Another record year for defense spending in 2008
By Zvi Zrahiya, Haaretz Correspondent
The defense budget for 2008 will be NIS 51.3 billion, thereby setting yet another new record for defense spending.
This figure represents over 16% of the entire NIS 314 billion state budget for next year, which the Knesset approved yesterday after passing the accompanying Economic Arrangements Law the day before. It also represents about 7% of gross domestic product.
Of this sum, NIS 4.3 billion will go for pensions for those who have retired from the military, up from NIS 3.9 billion in 2007. Another NIS 1.2 billion is earmarked for the separation fence, and NIS 1.2 billion for bereaved families, widows and memorials for the fallen.
In total, 40.7% of the defense budget goes for personnel, 23.5% for equipment and 35.8% for operations and miscellaneous costs.
But compared to other militaries around the world, Israel's spending on manpower is low. The Italians spend 85.1% of their defense budget on personnel, Germany 58.5%, France 56.3% and Britain 42.1%.
The base defense budget for 2008 is only NIS 49.35 billion, as recommended by the Brodet Committee on defense spending. However, in the last quarter of 2008, the Defense Ministry will also be able to use $150 million of the U.S. military aid for 2009.
Gaza 2009 - Over het Nieuwjaarsvuurwerk van Israël - Chronologie van een aangekondigde ramp - PART I (6)
Begin deel (6) ...Het vervolg...!!
World Military Spending
by Anup Shah - This Page Last Updated Saturday, March 01, 2008
"Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare."
James Madison, Political Observations, 1795
World Military Spending
Global military expenditure and arms trade form the largest spending in the world at over one trillion dollars in annual expenditure and has been rising in recent years.
# World military expenditure in 2006 is estimated to have reached $1204 billion in current dollars;
# This represents a 3.5 per cent increase in real terms since 2005 and a 37 per cent increase over the 10-year period since 1997;
# The USA, responsible for about 80 per cent of the increase in 2005, is the principal determinant of the current world trend, and its military expenditure now accounts for almost half of the world total;
SIPRI also comments on the increasing concentration of military expenditure, i.e. that a small number of countries spend the largest sums:
# The 15 countries with the highest spending account for 83 per cent of the total;
# The USA is responsible for 46 per cent of the world total, distantly followed by the UK, France, Japan and China with 4-5 per cent each.
Using SIPRI data:
High and rising world market prices of minerals and fossil fuels has also been a contributing factor in the upward trend in military expenditure, said SIPRI in their earlier 2006 report. For example, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Russia and Saudi Arabia have been able to increase spending because of increased oil and gas revenues, while Chile and Perus increases are resource-driven, because their military spending is linked by law to profits from the exploitation of key natural resources.
Also, China and India, the worlds two emerging economic powers, are demonstrating a sustained increase in their military expenditure and contribute to the growth in world military spending. In absolute terms their current spending is only a fraction of the USAs. Their increases are largely commensurate with their economic growth.
SIPRIs 2005 data also shows that while in raw dollar amounts some nations are increasing spending at large amounts, their percentage increases may vary:
US spending has increased the most in dollars, while Chinas has increased the most in percentage terms
In a similar report from 2004, the authors also noted that, There is a large gap between what countries are prepared to allocate for military means to provide security and maintain their global and regional power status, on the one hand, and to alleviate poverty and promote economic development, on the other.
Indeed, compare the military spending with the entire budget of the United Nations :
"The United Nations and all its agencies and funds spend about $20 billion each year, or about $3 for each of the world's inhabitants. This is a very small sum compared to most government budgets and it is just a tiny fraction of the worlds military spending. Yet for nearly two decades, the UN has faced a financial difficulties and it has been forced to cut back on important programs in all areas. Many member states have not paid their full dues and have cut their donations to the UNs voluntary funds. As of November 30, 2007, members arrears to the Regular Budget topped $735 million, of which the United States alone owed $688 million (94% of the regular budget arrears)."
# Yet, the UNs entire budget is just a tiny fraction of the worlds military expenditure, approximately 2%
# While the UN is not perfect and has many internal issues that need addressing, it is revealing that the world can spend so much on their military but contribute so little to the goals of global security, international cooperation and peace.
The United States has unquestionably been the most formidable military power in recent years. Its spending levels, as noted earlier, is the principle determinant of world military spending and is therefore worth looking at further.
Generally, US military spending has been on the rise. Recent increases are attributed to the so-called War on Terror and the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions, but it had also been rising before that.
For example, Christopher Hellman, an expert on military budget analysis notes in The Runaway Military Budget: An Analysis PDF formatted document, (Friends Committee on National Legislation, March 2006, no. 705, p. 3) that military spending had been rising since at least 1998, if not earlier.
Another expert on this topic, Travis Sharp, provides spending figures from 2001 to the requested figures for 2009 shown here:
As a chart
Raw data and sources (N.V.D.R. : Hiervoor verwijzen wij u graag door naar de desbetreffende pagina zelf.)
Compared to the rest of the world, these numbers have been described as staggering.
In Context: US Military Spending Versus Rest of the World
When the US Fiscal Year 2009 budget request for military spending came out in early 2008, Travis Sharp and Christopher Hellman (mentioned earlier) projected the spending of other nations planned for 2008 thus allowing comparison between US military spending and the rest of the world:
Pie chart :
Comparing US with others
# US military spending accounts for 48 percent, or almost half, of the worlds total military spending
# US military spending is more than the next 46 highest spending countries in the world combined
# US military spending is 5.8 times more than China, 10.2 times more than Russia, and 98.6 times more than Iran.
# US military spending is almost 55 times the spending on the six rogue states (Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria) whose spending amounts to around $13 billion, maximum. (Tabulated data does not include four of the six, as the data only lists nations that have spent over 1 billion in the year, so their budget is assumed to be $1 billion each)
# US spending is more than the combined spending of the next 45 countries.
# The United States and its strongest allies (the NATO countries, Japan, South Korea and Australia) spend $1.1 trillion on their militaries combined, representing 72 percent of the worlds total.
# The six potential enemies, Russia, and China together account for about $205 billion or 29% of the US military budget.
Top spenders ranked (and sources) (N.V.D.R. : Hiervoor verwijzen wij u graag door naar de desbetreffende pagina zelf.)
Why does the US number seem so high when the budget announced $517.9 for the Department of Defense?
Unfortunately, the budget numbers can be a bit confusing. For example, the Fiscal Year budget requests for US military spending do not include combat figures (which are supplemental requests that Congress approves separately). The budget for nuclear weapons falls under the Department of Energy, and for the 2009 request, was about $29 billion.
The cost of war (Iraq and Afghanistan) is estimated to be about $170 billion for the 2009 spending alone. Christopher Hellman and Travis Sharp also discuss the US fiscal year 2009 Pentagon spending request and note that Congress has already approved nearly $700 billion in supplemental funding for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and an additional $126 billion in FY'08 war funding is still pending before the House and Senate.
Furthermore, other costs such as care for vetarans, healthcare, military training/aid, secret operations, may fall under other departments or be counted separately.
The frustration of confusing numbers seemed to hit a raw nerve for the Center for Defense Information, concluding
"The articles that newspapers all over the country publish today will be filled with [military spending] numbers to the first decimal point; they will seem precise. Few of them will be accurate; many will be incomplete, some will be both. Worse, few of us will be able to tell what numbers are too high, which are too low, and which are so riddled with gimmicks to make them lose real meaning."
Generally, compared to Cold War levels, the amount of military spending and expenditure in most nations has been reduced. For example, global military spending declined from $1.2 trillion in 1985 to $809 billion in 1998, though in 2005 has risen to almost one trillion. The United States spending, up to 2009 requests may have be reduced compared to the Cold War era but is still close to Cold War levels.
Supporters of Americas high military expenditure often argue that using raw dollars is not a fair measure, but that instead it should be per capita or as percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and even then the spending numbers miss out the fact that US provides global stability with its high spending and allows other nations to avoid such high spending. However, as researcher Chris Hellman notes,
Linking military spending to the GDP is an argument frequently made by supporters of higher military budgets. Comparing military spending (or any other spending for that matter) to the GDP tells you how large a burden such spending puts on the US economy, but it tells you nothing about the burden a $440 billion military budget puts on U.S. taxpayers. Our economy may be able to bear higher military spending, but the question today is whether current military spending levels are necessary and whether these funds are going towards the proper priorities. Further, such comparisons are only made when the economy is healthy. It is unlikely that those arguing that military spending should be a certain portion of GDP would continue to make this case if the economy suddenly weakened, thus requiring dramatic cuts in the military.
In regards to the high spending allowing other nations to spend less, that is often part of a supportive theory of the global hegemon being good for the world. Granted, other nations in such a position would likely want to be able to dominate as much of the world as possible, as past empires have throughout history.
However, whether this global hegemony and stability actually means positive stability, peace and prosperity for the entire world (or most of it) is subjective. That is, certainly the hegemony at the time, and its allies would benefit from the stability, relative peace and prosperity for themselves, but often ignored in this is whether the policies pursued for their advantages breeds contempt elsewhere (in the modern era that may equate to anti-Americanism, resorting to terrorism and other forms of hatred.)
As noted in other parts of this site, unfortunately more powerful countries have also pursued policies that have contributed to more poverty, and at times even overthrown fledgling democracies in favor of dictatorships or more malleable democracies. (Osama Bin Laden, for example, was part of an enormous Islamic militancy encouraged and trained by the US to help fight the Soviet Union. Of course, these extremists are all too happy to take credit for fighting off the Soviets in Afghanistan, never acknowledging how it could not have been done without their so-called great satan friend-turned-enemy!)
So the global good hegemon theory may help justify high spending and even stability for a number of other countries, but it does not necessarily apply to the whole world. To be fair, this criticism can also be a bit simplistic especially if an empire finds itself against a competitor with similar ambitions, that risks polarizing the world, and answers are likely difficult to find.
In Context: US military budget vs. other US priorities
The peace lobby, the Friends Committee on National Legislation, calculates for Fiscal Year 2007 that the majority of US tax payers money goes towards war:
As a pie chart
Raw data and sources (N.V.D.R. : Hiervoor verwijzen wij u graag door naar de desbetreffende pagina zelf.)
Furthermore, national defense category of federal spending is typically just over half of the United States discretionary budget (the money the President/Administration and Congress have direct control over, and must decide and act to spend each year. This is different to mandatory spending, the money that is spent in compliance with existing laws, such as social secuity benefits, medicare, paying the interest on the national debt and so on). For recent years here is how military, education and health budgets (the top 3) have fared:
Discretionary budgets in $ (billions) and percentages (N.V.D.R. : Hiervoor verwijzen wij u graag door naar de desbetreffende pagina zelf.)
In this new era, traditional military threats to the USA are fairly remote. All of their enemies, former enemies and even allies do not pose a military threat to the United States. For a while now, critics of large military spending have pointed out that most likely forms of threat to the United States would be through terrorist actions, rather than conventional warfare, and that the spending is still geared towards Cold War-type scenarios and other such conventional confrontations.
"[T]he lions share of this money is not spent by the Pentagon on protecting American citizens. It goes to supporting U.S. military activities, including interventions, throughout the world. Were this budget and the organization it finances called the Military Department, then attitudes might be quite different. Americans are willing to pay for defense, but they would probably be much less willing to spend billions of dollars if the money were labeled Foreign Military Operations."
But it is not just the U.S. military spending. In fact, as Jan Oberg argues, western militarism often overlaps with civilian functions affecting attitudes to militarism in general. As a result, when revelations come out that some Western militaries may have trained dictators and human rights violators, the justification given may be surprising, which we look at in the next page.
Defense News ranked Israel 17th in a list of the worlds top 25 defense spenders based on absolute numbers, not as a percentage of GDP. The list is based on updated information from the CIAs World Fact Book and from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Most of the figures in the list, including those for Israel, refer to the 2005 fiscal year. The numbers are mostly consistent with official data from the relevant countries. Only one Arab country, Saudi Arabia, made the list, although Iran, with $4.3 billion in military spending in 2005, just lost the 25th place to Argentina.
ANALYSIS / Budget will decide whether Israel attacks Iran
By Aluf Benn
The most important decision the next government of Israel will have to make is how to distribute resources intended for use against the Iranian nuclear threat, senior defense officials involved in decision-making have told Haaretz. The new government will have to decide whether to invest in developing measures to attack Iran's nuclear facilities or developing means of defense and deterrance if Iran does attain nuclear power.
The budget will decide whether Israel will seriously consider a military option against Iran. A decision focusing on defense and deterrance will mean that Israel has given up on attacking Iran. The dilemma becomes more serious in the context of economic recession, which limits the government's ability to expand the defense budget.
Those who support deterrance believe there is no substitute for the military option, and costly resources should not be wasted on a plan that will never be implemented. They also say that, at most, Israel could bring about a delay of a few years in the Iranian nuclear project, which does not justify the risk of complications in the action or a wider regional conflict. They prefer investing in a number of long-term projects that will increase Israel's ability to defend itself against the nuclear threat. Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert objected to this approach. His position was that if Israel can thwart the Iranian threat, its present deterrent capability and resources should not be wasted on redundant deterrent capabilities. As far as is known, Olmert has yet to approve the continued development of a number of projects.
Those who are for the "attack option" say there is great value in delaying the development of Iranian nuclear capabilities by two to four years by means of an Israeli attack. Optimally, they say such an action could also undermine the regime in Tehran, or at least lead to international support against Iranian nuclearization.
"In choosing a strategy vis a vis a non-conventional Iranian threat, we must consider the limited resources at our disposal, which requires sophisticated risk-management," the chairman of the National Economic Council, Professor Manuel Trachtenberg, told the annual conference of the Institute for National Security Studies last Thursday.
There is no consensus in the defense community about this approach. Experts say the price of the attack option is lower than its detractors say. They also say the IDF needs about NIS 1 billion a year to strengthen its "long arm," with funding going mainly for intelligence, refueling planes and the munitions-carrying capacity of Israel Air Force planes, and of course for training, and that the budget can bear the expense.
Military Intelligence says that over the past year Iran has crossed the "technological threshold" and now has the ability to enrich uranium. Attaining nuclear weapons is now a matter only of a decision by the Iranian leadership, time and circumstances. But intelligence experts say Iran prefers stockpiling a large amount of fissionable material before moving on to military nuclear technology, which presents a window of opportunity for a final diplomatic effort to stop development of an Iranian bomb.
Gaza 2009 - Over het Nieuwjaarsvuurwerk van Israël - Chronologie van een aangekondigde ramp - PART I (7)
Begin deel (7) ...Het vervolg...!!
Bovendien beschikt Israël naar verluidt over 200 kernkoppen... & heeft al herhaaldelijk gedreigd dat ze deze ook zullen gebruiken. Het is ook in dit licht dat de uitspraken dienen te worden gezien vanwege Matan Vilnai, Israël's vice-minister van Defensie, dat de Palestijnen een nieuwe "Shoah" over zichzelf zullen afroepen als de toestand blijft escaleren.
Noot : over dit soort uitspraken valt blijkbaar geen mens, althans toch niet in West Europa. Stel u voor dat 't van Ahmadinejad was gekomen ?!...
guardian.co.uk, Friday 29 February 2008 13.33 GMT
Israeli minister warns of Palestinian 'holocaust'
A Sderot chicken factory damaged by a Hamas rocket. Photograph: AP/Almog Sugavker
An Israeli minister today warned of increasingly bitter conflict in the Gaza Strip, saying the Palestinians could bring on themselves what he called a "holocaust".
"The more Qassam [rocket] fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves," Matan Vilnai, Israel's deputy defence minister, told army radio.
Shoah is the Hebrew word normally reserved to refer to the Jewish Holocaust. It is rarely used in Israel outside discussions of the Nazi extermination of Jews during the second world war, and many Israelis are loath to countenance its use to describe other events.
The minister's statement came after two days of tit-for-tat missile raids between Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip and the Israeli army. At least 32 Palestinians and one Israeli have been killed since the surge in violence on Wednesday.
Today Israel activated a rocket warning system to protect Ashkelon, a city of 120,000 people, from Palestinian attacks.
Ashkelon was hit by several Grad rockets fired from Gaza yesterday. One hit an apartment building, slicing through the roof and three floors below, and another landed near a school, wounding a 17-year-old girl.
Located 11 miles from Gaza, Ashkelon has been sporadically targeted before but not suffered direct hits or significant damage.
"It will be sad, and difficult, but we have no other choice," Vilnai said, referring to the large-scale military operation he said Israel was preparing to bring a halt to the rocket fire.
"We're getting close to using our full strength. Until now, we've used a small percentage of the army's power because of the nature of the territory."
Israel would not launch a ground offensive in the next week or two, partly because the military would prefer to wait for better weather, defence sources said. But the army had completed its preparations and was awaiting the government's order to move, officials said.
Until now, the Palestinian rocket squads have largely targeted Sderot, a small town near Gaza. Ashkelon, a big population centre only 25 miles from Tel Aviv, was caught unprepared, its mayor said on Friday.
"It's a city of 120,000 people, with large facilities a huge soccer stadium, a basketball stadium and a beach. No one is ready for this," Roni Mehatzri told Israel Radio.
Dozens of soldiers in orange berets from the Israeli military's home front command arrived in Ashkelon and hung posters around the city telling residents what to do in case of rocket attack.
The barrage of Iranian-made Grads directed at Ashkelon yesterday came after an escalation of violence in Gaza. Israel killed five Hamas militants on Wednesday morning, apparently including two planners of the rocket attacks, in an air strike on a minivan.
Later in the day, a Palestinian rocket killed an Israeli civilian, a 47-year-old father of four, in Sderot.
Hamas, an Islamist group with close ties to Iran, has ruled Gaza since its violent takeover there in June 2006.
Since Wednesday, 32 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli missile strikes, including 14 civilians, among them eight children, according to Palestinian officials. The youngest was a six-month-old boy, Mohammed al-Borai, whose funeral was held yesterday.
There were further indications that Israel was preparing for an offensive by sending confidential messages to world leaders, including the US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, who plans to visit the region next week.
"Israel is not keen on, and rushing for, an offensive, but Hamas is leaving us no choice," the Israeli defence minister, Ehud Barak, told the senior figures, according to Israel's mass circulation daily, Yedioth Ahronoth.
Security sources were quoted by both Israel Radio and army radio as saying a big operation was being prepared but was not imminent.
Toch lijkt dit vrij onwaarschijnlijk omdat Israël zich dit niet kan permitteren vanuit PR oogpunt. De etnische zuivering op korte termijn is dus eigenlijk geen optie meer, & een "trage" zuivering zit er voorlopig althans ook niet meer aan te komen, tenzij het de bedoeling is om het leven van de Palestijnen nog miserabeler te maken dan het nù al is, zodat ze uiteindelijk "uit eigen beweging" vertrekken.
2) De Tweestatenoplossing.
Deze wordt nu reeds geruime tijd verdedigd door een groot gedeelte Israëli's én Palestijnen... & sinds enige tijd zijn ook de Amerikanen & Europeanen een voorstander van dit scenario. Echter, de politiek van Israël om steeds meer land (...& dan vooral water & vruchtbare gronden) van Palestijnen af te pakken, evenals de aanhoudende uitbreiding van zowel bestaande als nieuwe nederzettingen op Palestijns gebied vormen een serieuze hinderpaal.
De belangrijkste kritiek op de Tweestatenoplossing is dat de Palestijnse Staat in feite een soort Apartheidsstaat zal zijn, bestaande uit een aantal bantoestans, enclaves of eilandjes, die volkomen omringd of omsingeld zullen zijn door Israël, zoals dit ook al tot uiting kwam in de eerder getoonde presentatie vanwege Gush Shalom. (punt 1 - Iran's generous offer). Met andere woorden, indien Israël de koloniseringspolitiek blijft verderzetten zal het deze oplossing zélf ondergraven & komen we automatisch terecht bij de derde oplossing, de One State Solution.
3) De One State solution - één Staat voor twéé volkeren.
Kijk - kijk... dit zou nog eens een interessant experiment kunnen zijn.
Dit lijkt op het éérste gezicht een waanzinnig idee, maar in Israël zelf zijn er nu al een aantal voorstanders van of bewegingen die dit idee voorstaan.
Eén staat.. seculier, voor álle mensen met gelijke rechten voor iederéén.
Wie kan dáár nu tegen zijn?
Wel, om te beginnen de Israëli's, want die wilden een exclusief Joodse Staat waarin ze dan wel doen alsof de "Arabische Israëli's" gelijke rechten hebben wat natuurlijk niet zo is.
Op dit ogenblik zijn er ongeveer 20% "Israëlische Arabieren", dus Palestijnen die Israëlisch staatsburgerschap hebben, en inderdaad zelfs een -minimale- vertegenwoordiging in de Israëlische Knesset.
Nochtans is het zo dat het geboortecijfer bij de Arabische Israëli's véél hoger ligt dan bij de Joodse Israëli's, en Israël is dus dringend op zoek naar nieuwe immigranten (uiteraard van joodse "afkomst") teneinde het Joodse karakter van Israël in stand te kunnen houden.
Demografie is dan ook een zéér grote bezorgdheid van de Israëli's, want hoe verdedigbaar zou het zijn, internationaal maar ook in eigen land, indien een minderheid van Israëli's de plak zou zwaaien over een meerderheid langs Arabische - Palestijnse zijde ?!...
Maar U voelt 'm al komen, de kans bestaat natuurlijk ook dat de Palestijnen zich niet aan de regels zullen houden & dat Israël op die manier alsnog "zal verdwijnen van het aanschijn van de geschiedenis", precies zoals voorspeld door Ahmadinejad.
De kaarten zijn dan ook volledig in de handen van Israël zelf. Zij kunnen ze schudden, delen, geven & nemen, zij kunnen het spel sturen zoals zij dat willen, maar de uitkomst van het spel zal waarschijnlijk niet de uitkomst zijn die ze zelf willen.
Voor de Palestijnen ziet het er op dit ogenblik nog niet erg goed uit, maar hoe langer het kaartspel nog zal duren, des te beter zullen de kaarten voor hun gaan vallen.
Ook de Amerikanen spelen hierin een belangrijke rol. Jaarlijks geeft Amerika meer dan 2 miljard dollar aan Egypte, of beter, aan het regime van Moebarak, & bijna evenveel aan Saudi-Arabië. Zonder deze "steun" die we gerust omkoopgeld kunnen noemen zou het, zeker voor Moebarak, een pak moeilijker zijn om de bevolking onder de knoet te blijven houden.
Het logische gevolg van échte democratie in bijvoorbeeld Egypte zou dan ook zijn dat de mensen massaal zouden kiezen (stemmen dus) voor islamitisch getinte partijen zoals de moslimbroederschap in Egypte, die nu buiten de wet is gesteld door het regime van Moebarak.
Enerzijds verwijt men de moslimlanden graag dat ze niet democratisch zijn, maar anderzijds ~& laat ons daar geen doekjes om winden~ steekt de Westerse Wereld maar al te graag een handje toe om te beletten dat die landen democratisch worden of blijven (bijv. Algerije, Tunesië of Iran).
Echter, zodra de Amerikaanse steun voor Egypte, Saudi Arabië (...& ook Israël) om één of andere reden zal opdrogen, wat voorlopig zeker nog niet het geval zal zijn, zullen deze regimes (...& waarschijnlijk ook Israël) zodanig verzwakken dat zij uiteindelijk vanzelf zullen verschrompelen & verdwijnen.
Maar voorlopig ziet het er nog niet naar uit dat er van échte vrede in het Midden Oosten in de nabije toekomst sprake zal zijn.
...& Binnenkort : Gaza 2009 - "Are we all antisemites now ?!..." - Chronologie van een aangekondigde ramp - PART II
Vooraleer we hier uitgemaakt gaan worden voor rabiate antisemieten... wat we voor de duidelijkheid dus NIET zijn... & laat dit dan ook bij deze bij iedere lezer in z'n grijze hersenmassa doordringen (!!), wij hebben dus wel degelijk een ~onderbouwde~ mening !!
...& Al beseffen we zeer goed dat we naar aanleiding van sommige van onze boute uitspraken & stellingen hiervoor wel eens versleten zouden kunnen voor worden, houdt dit ons niet tegen om hier onze onvrede ~noem 't maar regelrechte verontwaardiging~ te ventileren over wat er zich op dit moment in Gaza afspeelt...
Wat niet wegneemt dat we dus wel degelijk tégen de huidige politiek van de Israëlische machthebbers zijn, die ~onder andere omwille van wat we in onze voorgaande beschouwing gepubliceerd hebben over de gasvelden in Gaza & voor de kust van Gaza~ hun eigen bevolking zo gek krijgen dat ze hun buren ~die weliswaar inderdaad niet altijd de braafste jongens zijn~ gewoon willen uitroeien... & sorry, maar een ander woord hebben we ~& zeker gezien de gebruikte middelen & methodes~ daar niet echt voor gevonden...
Hoe men het ook draait of keert, het is op dit eigenste moment dus ook nog eens een regelrechte oorlog tegen de Palestijnse kinderen aan het worden... Je moet zo maar eventjes het aantal slachtoffers bekijken & het aandeel dat kinderen hierin uitmaken.
We hebben het hier al al een aantal malen gezegd & we zullen dat ook blijven herhalen : het is ontoelaatbaar op zulke schaal lucht- & artilleriebombardementen uit te voeren in zulk een dichtbevolkt gebied, waarbij dan nog eens de onmenselijke, zeg maar pure smeerlapperij van witte fosfor wordt gebruikt !! ...& het gebied is daar niet alleen dicht bevolkt, maar bovendien bestaat het overgrote deel van die bevolking daar uit meer dan 50% kinderen...
Zo eventjes terzijde...
January 10, 2009
Q & A on Israels Use of White Phosphorus in Gaza
Since the beginning of Israels ground offensive in Gaza on January 3, 2009, there have been numerous media reports about the possible use by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) of white phosphorus (WP), a chemical substance used in military ordnance that has several tactical uses. The IDF has told Human Rights Watch and reporters that it is not using WP in Gaza. On January 7, an IDF spokesman told CNN, I can tell you with certainty that white phosphorus is absolutely not being used.
Human Rights Watch believes the IDF is using WP in Gaza. On January 9, Human Rights Watch researchers on a ridge overlooking Gaza from the northwest observed multiple air-bursts of artillery-fired WP that appeared to be over the Gaza City/Jabaliya area. In addition, Human Rights Watch has analyzed photographs taken by the media on the Israel-Gaza border showing Israeli artillery units handling fused WP artillery shells, as well as video of air bursts over Gaza followed by tendrils of smoke and flame that are highly indicative of WP use.
Israel appears to be using WP as an obscurant (a chemical used to hide military operations), a permissible use in principle under international humanitarian law (the laws of war). However, WP also has a significant, incidental, incendiary effect that can severely burn people and set structures, fields, and other civilian objects in the vicinity on fire. The potential for harm to civilians is magnified by Gazas high population density, among the highest in the world.
Human Rights Watch believes that the use of WP in densely populated areas of Gaza violates the requirement under international humanitarian law to take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian injury and loss of life. This concern is amplified given the technique evidenced in media photographs and viewed by Human Rights Watch researchers on January 9 of air-bursting WP projectiles, which spreads the burning wafers over a wider area, thereby increasing the likelihood of civilian casualties and damage to civilian objects.
What is White Phosphorous?
White phosphorous (WP) is a chemical substance dispersed in artillery shells, bombs, and rockets, used primarily to obscure military operations on the ground. It is not considered a chemical weapon and is not banned per se. WP ignites and burns on contact with oxygen and creates a smokescreen at night or during the day to mask the visual movement of troops. It also interferes with infra-red optics and weapon-tracking systems, thus protecting military forces from guided weapons such as anti-tank missiles. When WP comes into contact with people or objects, though, it creates an intense and persistent burn. It can also be used as a weapon against military targets (see below).
How is WP used?
WP can be air-burst or ground-burst. It emits a distinct garlic smell. When air-burst, it covers a larger area than ground-burst and is useful to mask large troop movements. However, this spreads the incendiary effect over a wider area and in densely populated areas, as in much of Gaza, increases the exposure of civilians. When the weapon is ground-burst, the endangered area is more concentrated and the smokescreen remains for longer. The cloud from WP is dependent on atmospheric conditions, so it is impossible to generalize how long it will remain in the air.
WP can also be used as a weapon. US forces used WP during the second battle of Fallujah in Iraq in 2004 to smoke out concealed combatants, who were then attacked.
Why is WP controversial?
WP burns anything it touches. When air-burst as an obscurant, it can fall over an area about the size of a football field, about the same area affected by a cluster bomb. Those below may receive horrific skin burns, and it can set structures, fields, and other objects on fire. Using WP against military targets in densely populated areas would also raise concerns where the weapon could not be directed at a specific military target and thus would be indiscriminate in its impact, in violation of the laws of war. Humanitarian law also places restrictions on the use of incendiary weapons like WP against military personnel when other weapons are available.
What is the status of WP under international law?
WP used as weapons are considered incendiaries. Incendiary weapons are not prohibited under the laws of war. However, the use of WP against military targets is regulated under Protocol III of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW). Although Israel is not party to this treaty, customary laws of war prohibit the anti-personnel use of incendiary weapons so long as weapons less likely to cause unnecessary suffering are available.
A 1998 Israeli military manual states: Incendiary arms are not banned. Nevertheless, because of their wide range of cover, this protocol of the CCW is meant to protect civilians and forbids making a population center a target for an incendiary weapon attack. Furthermore, it is forbidden to attack a military objective situated within a population center employing incendiary weapons. The protocol does not ban the use of these arms during combat (for instance, in flushing out bunkers).
Is Israels use of WP compliant with international law?
WP is not an illegal obscurant or weapon. However, Israels use of WP as an obscurant in densely populated areas of Gaza violates the obligation to take all feasible precautions to minimize harm to the civilian population during military operations. Human Rights Watch urges Israel immediately to stop using WP in densely populated areas. Human Rights Watch will seek to investigate this matter further.
Israel: Stop Unlawful Use of White Phosphorus in Gaza
Chemical Obscurant Poses Serious Risk to Civilians
White phosphorous can burn down houses and cause horrific burns when it touches the skin. Israel should not use it in Gazas densely populated areas.
senior military analyst
(Jerusalem) Israel should stop using white phosphorus in military operations in densely populated areas of Gaza, Human Rights Watch said today. On January 9 and 10, 2009, Human Rights Watch researchers in Israel observed multiple air-bursts of artillery-fired white phosphorus over what appeared to be the Gaza City/Jabaliya area.
Israel appeared to be using white phosphorus as an obscurant (a chemical used to hide military operations), a permissible use in principle under international humanitarian law (the laws of war). However, white phosphorus has a significant, incidental, incendiary effect that can severely burn people and set structures, fields, and other civilian objects in the vicinity on fire. The potential for harm to civilians is magnified by Gazas high population density, among the highest in the world.
White phosphorous can burn down houses and cause horrific burns when it touches the skin, said Marc Garlasco, senior military analyst at Human Rights Watch. Israel should not use it in Gazas densely populated areas.
Human Rights Watch believes that the use of white phosphorus in densely populated areas of Gaza violates the requirement under international humanitarian law to take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian injury and loss of life. This concern is amplified given the technique evidenced in media photographs of air-bursting white phosphorus projectiles. Air bursting of white phosphorus artillery spreads 116 burning wafers over an area between 125 and 250 meters in diameter, depending on the altitude of the burst, thereby exposing more civilians and civilian infrastructure to potential harm than a localized ground burst.
Since the beginning of Israels ground offensive in Gaza on January 3, 2009, there have been numerous media reports about the possible use of white phosphorous by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The IDF told both Human Rights Watch and news reporters that it is not using white phosphorus in Gaza. On January 7, an IDF spokesman told CNN, I can tell you with certainty that white phosphorus is absolutely not being used.
Wat ons ook zwaar ergert is het feit dat er géén journalisten worden toegelaten & dit nog eens tegen een uitspraak van hun eigen Israêlisch hooggerechtshof in !! ...& Het is zelfs nog erger, want de journalisten die ter plaatse waren werden vermoord of gebombardeerd ondanks het doorgeven van de coördinaten aan het Israëlisch leger van het gebouw waarin ze werkten... (net zoals gebeurde bij de VN-school trouwens).
De Israëlische regering waarschuwt tegen de Palestijnse "burgerjournalisten" en bloggers omdat ze geen objectief verslag zouden geven van de gebeurtenissen. Tja, het zal ook erg moeilijk zijn in dergelijke omstandigheden om iets of wat objectiviteit aan de dag te leggen nietwaar ?!...
Trouwens Israël moet dan maar journalisten binnenlaten zoals overal gebeurde bij gewapende conflicten. We zouden hier dus heel gemakkelijk een aantal Palestijnse bloggers aan het woord kunnen laten over de drama's die zich daar aan het afspelen zijn onder het weliswaar blinde oog van de wereld, maar dat doen we dus niet. Dàt moeten jullie maar zelf opzoeken... Er zijn er genoeg & blijkbaar zijn ze allemaal even subjectief, want ze vertellen quasi allemaal de zelfde horrorverhalen... & eerlijk gezegd, wij geloven dat die niet zo erg ver naast de toch wel héél lugubere realiteit zitten.
We hebben hier trouwens ook reeds eerder onze visie over burgerjounalisten gegeven & we blijven die hier dus ook tot in den treure herhalen. Er zijn alleen de erkende journalisten - PUNT. Burgerjournalisten is een fenomeen dat wij nooit zullen erkennen. Zulke personen zijn getuigen & kunnen zéér waardevolle dingen zeggen... Verder zijn er bloggers & ook dat kan interessant zijn, anders zouden wij ~KITOKOJUNGLE~ hier trouwens niet zijn... Maar journalisten zijn we tot nader order dus niet !!
Maar ook in Gaza werken erkende jounalisten die erkend zijn door het IFJ (International Federation of Jounalists). Wij laten daarom het IFJ zelf aan het woord over de gebeurtenissen in Gaza. Het wordt nu eens hoog tijd dat Israël & haar vurige supporters eens een zinnig antwoord geeft op de verschillende oproepen van het IFJ !! ...Intussen rangschikken we de staat Israël bij de echte schurkenstaten zoals Myanmar, Noord-Korea enz...
...& We beginnen met :
January 05, 2009
Media Ban in Gaza a Recipe for Censorship, Ignorance and Fear, Says IFJ
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) says the Israeli ban on foreign journalists from entering Gaza to cover the conflict is a dangerous violation of press freedom that adds to "ignorance, uncertainty and fear" in the region.
The IFJ says that the presence of independent reporters on the ground is needed to ensure that there are no flagrant abuses of human rights by combatants.
The IFJ's protest comes as the global humanitarian agency Human Rights Watch (HRW) called for rights monitors as well as journalists to be allowed into Gaza, a move that could help save lives.
"The Israeli ban on foreign news media from Gaza since December 27 raises concerns that there is a systematic attempt to prevent scrutiny of actions by the Israeli military," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "The eyes of the world are on Gaza, but Israel is trying to censor the news by keeping the media at bay."
The IFJ says that Israeli claims the ban was imposed because it cannot guarantee the safety of journalists is untenable.
"Few news people take this seriously given that Israel has already shown its contempt for international law by its targeted military strike on an unarmed television station at the outset of the conflict," said White.
For the past two months, when the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas broke down, Israel has restricted access to Gaza for foreign journalists. None has been allowed entry since the current military campaign began. The world's media are largely dependent upon coverage provided by local Palestinian freelance staff, many of whom are denied formal press accreditation by Israel and have no freedom to move in the region. Israeli journalists themselves are denied access to Gaza, say human rights groups, because of the government's policy of prohibiting citizens from entering Gaza.
The IFJ is concerned that restriction of access and movement may contribute to unbalanced reporting as journalists are unable to report from all conflict-hit areas.
The IFJ is supporting efforts by the Jerusalem-based Foreign Correspondents Association to get journalists access to Gaza, but is insisting that there should be no controlled access organised and supervised by the Israeli authorities.
"It is not for one side to dictate who goes into the area and in what circumstances," said White. "Journalists should be allowed to travel and work freely without monitoring by the military."
For more information contact the IFJ at +32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 123 countries worldwide
IFJ Condemns Killings of Journalists and Backs Media Protests over Israeli Actions
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the killing of a cameraman in Gaza as a result of an air strike carried out by Israeli forces in Gaza.
Basel Faraj, who worked as a cameraman for the Algerian TV network ENTV and the Palestine Broadcast Production Company, was wounded as a result of an Israeli air strike on 27 December. He died yesterday evening. He was filming in Gaza with reporters Mohamed Madi and Mohamed Al Tanany and Morocco Channel 2 cameraman, Khaled Abu Shammala all of whom were injured in the attack.
Basel is the second journalist to die from injuries in the recent Gaza conflict. Hamza Shahin, a photographer with Shehab News Agency, died on 26 December from wounds sustained in an earlier Israeli air attack on 7 December.
Journalists have been in the firing line since the beginning of the Israeli military operation. The Palestine Journalists Syndicate (PJS) says that Israeli forces have targeted vehicles and journalists who were clearly identified as such, with "Press" or "TV" markings.
The PJS has organised demonstrations in the West Bank town of Ramallah today to protest over the attacks on media and to show solidarity with journalists and media inside Gaza.
The IFJ has protested at the destruction of the offices of Al Aqsa Television on December 28 by Israeli fighter planes and called for Israel to open up Gaza to foreign correspondents in line with an order from Israeli judges.
"We strongly support our colleagues in Palestine as they speak out against Israeli attacks on journalists and media outlets,' said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "Israel is making a mockery of its status as a democratic country by violating international law, ignoring its own Supreme Court and showing contempt for the United Nations by defying its obligations under Resolution 1738 to protect journalists in conflict zones."
Another Gaza Journalist Killed, IFJ Calls for Global Protest Over Media Blockade
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has called on the world of journalism to raise its voice in protest over Israeli government pressure on media trying to cover the Gaza conflict. The Government has imposed a blockade on the world's media trying to report on the crisis inside Gaza.
The IFJ call comes as another Palestinian journalist was reported killed - the fourth victim of recent Israeli military action in Gaza. Eyhab Al Wahidi , who worked as a cameraman for the Palestinian Broadcast Corporation in Gaza, was killed with his wife and mother in law yesterday when Israeli troops shelled their home in Gaza city. The family children were injured.
"The media crisis in Gaza has become intolerable," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "The systematic manipulation and control of media trying to report on Gaza and the casualties being sustained inside the territory require a concerted response from the world's media."
Despite an Israeli Supreme Court ruling ordering the government to allow a limited pool of journalists to enter Gaza, the army continues to block entry. Yesterday, two Israeli channels and the BBC were permitted to briefly accompany Israeli ground forces, but there is no hint that the government will permit journalists unfettered access to Gaza.
According to media reports, journalists for most television networks are broadcasting from a hill outside Sderot, and relying on Gazan journalists to serve as their eyes and ears. Meanwhile, Israel's sophisticated communications operation provides beleagured media staff with contacts, fact books full of charts and statistics, tours of the south of Israel and interviews with the Israeli victims of rocket attacks from Gaza.
"There is a cynical attempt to ensure that media tell the story from the Israeli side only," said White. "The truth cannot be told unless journalists are free to move, to talk with everyone involved and to see with their own eyes what is happening on the ground."
The IFJ says that legitimate security concerns are being raised, particularly related to the safety of media staff. "But this should not be used as an excuse to keep journalists from doing their work," said White. "Media must be free to judge the risks for themselves and not be constrained. When one side takes control of the message, truth-telling becomes overwhelmed by propaganda."
IFJ Demands End to Targeting as Israelis Strike Media Tower
The International Federation of Journalists has called for the protection of media and journalists to be guaranteed in any talks taking place to end the violence in the Gaza Strip following the bombing on Friday of a building housing news organisations.
The Al-Johara Tower, an eight-storey building in Al-Rimal neighborhood in Gaza City, was hit twice by Israeli aircraft, even though the building was clearly marked as housing media staff. Up to 20 news organisations work inside the building including Iran's English-language Press TV and Arabic-language network of al-Alam. Satellite transmission equipment on the roof of the building was destroyed and at least one journalist was reported injured.
The IFJ is particularly concerned because the coordinates for the building were provided to the Israeli military and lighting on the roof clearly identifies the building.
This latest attack confirms the fear that media inside Gaza are becoming the targets of Israeli forces, said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. It is time for the international community to condemn this targeting and to ensure that any agreement to end hostilities will also take media and journalists out of the firing line.
The IFJ is supporting its local affiliate the Palestine Journalists Syndicate, which has also protested over this attack, which came at the end of a week when another Palestinian journalist was reported killed - the fourth media victim of recent Israeli military action in Gaza.
Despite an Israeli Supreme Court ruling ordering the government to allow a limited pool of journalists to enter Gaza, the army continues to block entry of foreign reporters. The IFJ says this is an attempt to manipulate media reporting of the conflict.
The media have become part of the battleground and journalists are ever more at risk, said White. The targeting of journalists is a scandalous violation of human rights and must be stopped.
...& In onze eigenste Belgische pers vinden we hierover :
Ondanks een zogoed als unanieme resolutie van de VN-Veiligheidsraad met een oproep voor een onmiddellijk staakt-het-vuren en het aanvatten van besprekingen gaat op het terrein zelf de oorlog onverminderd voort. Israël denkt zelfs aan een uitbreiding van het grondoffensief, terwijl Hamas ook al geen enkele noodzaak ziet om het offensief te laten stoppen en probeert de raketaanvallen op het zuiden van Israël voort te zetten. De Israëlische luchtaanvallen rond Gaza-stad gaan ook onverminderd door. Het grondoffensief zou eerstdaags naar de meer dichtbevolkte wijken uitgebreid worden.
"Het leger zal voortgaan Israëlische burgers te beschermen en zijn opdrachten uit te voeren", zei premier Ehud Olmert. Niemand betwist het recht op zelfverdediging van Israël, maar of dat recht ingevuld moet worden met het overproportionele geweld van de afgelopen week, waar bijzonder veel burgers, vrouwen en vooral kinderen het slachtoffer van werden, is zeer de vraag. Het beschieten van ambulances, van VN-hulpkonvooien, het gebruik van cluster- en brandbommen zijn methodes die niets meer met die wettige zelfverdediging te maken hebben, maar duiden op een bruut offensief dat zonder enige maat een vijand probeert te vernietigen.
Daarbij worden iedere dag nieuwe gruwelverhalen de wereld ingestuurd: volgens een VN-organisatie heeft het Israëlische leger 110 Palestijnen bevel gegeven zich te verzamelen in een gebouw in het oosten van Gaza-stad. Nog geen dag later werd dat in puin geschoten. Daarbij vielen tientallen doden en wie het bloedbad overleefde, moest twee kilometer lopen voor ze naar het ziekenhuis konden worden gebracht. Bij aankomst daar stierven nog eens drie kinderen.
Net om dit soort gruwel niet aan de wereldpers kenbaar te maken, wordt die zorgvuldig de toegang tot het slagveld ontzegd. "Uit veiligheidsredenen", heet het. Misschien is het meer uit schaamte voor wat men aan het aanrichten is.
Twee partijen die zich koppig vastklampen aan de logica van de haat en de destructie, die al zo lang iedere oplossing voor het conflict in de weg staat, en integendeel de kiemen legt voor een nieuwe escalatie in de toekomst. Zodra de overlevende kinderen groot genoeg zullen zijn om hun haat te vertalen in nieuw terrorisme.
...& De Standaard laat zich in deze ook niet onbetuigd...
Over Gaza-stad rezen rookwolken vandaag - ondanks een nieuw bestand dat voortaan drie uur per dag zou moeten duren. De rookwolken waren duidelijk zichtbaar, en de verschrikkelijke bumbum-geluiden van artillerie- en andere beschietingen klonken angstaanjagend dichtbij. Explosies wennen nooit echt.
Maar Gaza en zijn geluiden waren voor buitenlandse journalisten alleen zichtbaar vanop heuvels rondom Gaza. Nauwelijks enkele kilometers verwijderd van de stad, maar de echte tragedie van de oorlog mocht niet dichtbij zijn. Op bevel van de Israëlische overheid. Met als argument dat de situatie "niet veilig" is. De verantwoordelijkheid voor de veiligheid van buitenlandse journalisten valt nochtans niet onder de bevoegdheid van de Israëlische overheid - volgens het internationale recht valt daaronder wel de veiligheid van burgers in gebieden die de Israëlische overheid bezet.
En dus bleven we kijken, vanop afstand. Dichterbij werden we telkens gestopt door jonge rekruten en politieagenten met flashy zonnebrillen en nonchalante M-16's.
Niet getreurd, in de stad Sderot - die in de voorbije jaren zwaar geteisterd door de domme raketten van Hamas - liep een leger van olijfkleurige militaire perswoordvoerders, die alles vertellen wat een journalist wilde weten. In elke taal die maar gewenst is: wie wil een Franstalige woordvoerder? Russisch? Bez problem. Als er een journalist uit Congo was geweest, was er ongetwijfeld een Swahili- of Kikongo-talige Israëlische militaire woordvoerder opgedoken.
Enig probleem: ze vertellen allemaal hetzelfde, in welke taal ook. Iedereen die wordt gedood is een terrorist, en anders liep hij of zij wel te dicht bij een terrorist. Eigen schuld. De Franstalige militaire woordvoerder, tot zijn twintigste opgegroeid in Frankrijk, werd agressief toen hem werd gevraagd waarom een op de zes doden in Gaza, in een doelgerichte operatie die totnogtoe slechts twaalf dagen heeft geduurd, nog kind was. En altijd zal blijven. De kolonel werd boos. Hoe kan een journalist nu niet begrijpen dat Israël terroristen aan het uitschakelen is? L' enfer, c'est l'autre. Een journalist uit Quebec probeerde de Belgische vraagtekens te verzachten door te verklaren dat de man geen echte Israëli is, maar een Fransman, "en die zijn nu eenmaal zo".
Als het Israëlische leger effectief zo efficiënt optreedt in de chaos van Gaza, zullen we daar nochtans graag over schrijven. Maar niet op basis van een leger van perswoordvoerders dat iedereen behandelt als een idioot van het zevende knoopsgat. Geen van die woordvoerders heeft overigens zelf ooit de huidige situatie in Gaza van binnenuit gezien.
En dus laat de enige democratie van het Midden-Oosten al die instrumenten van de democratie - een leger van journalisten, met al onze rampzalige beperkingen die we graag toegeven - alleen toezien vanop een heuvel vanop vijf kilometer afstand, te midden van lieflijke groene velden, naast Israëlische ramptoeristen die met een sterrenkijker komen kijken hoe Gaza brandt.
Een moedige Franse journaliste, Anne Nivat, schreef over haar ervaringen in de Tweede Tsjetsjeense oorlog het kille boek "La guerre qui n'aurait pas eu lieu", de oorlog die nooit zal hebben plaatsgevonden - omdat Poetins Rusland zorgvuldig alle pottenkijkers buitenhield, of koudbloedig liet afmaken.
Als een staat die zich een democratie noemt, zich begint te gedragen als Poetins Rusland, heeft de democratie in kwestie een probleem. Als die staat denkt dat zonnegebrilde militaire woordvoerders op hun woord worden geloofd, houdt die staat zichzelf voor de gek. Als die staat denkt dat de aanwezigheid van journalisten in Gaza onvermijdelijk sympathiebetuigingen voor Hamas zou opleveren, heeft ze geen idee van de ballorigheid van de vrije pers, wat haar eigen geloofwaardigheid als veronderstelde democratie aan het wankelen brengt. Het gevolg is dat de vrije pers in Gaza op dit moment wordt overgelaten aan moedige lokale, journalistieke Palestijnen, en aan zenders als Al-Jazeera - bij ons zo gedemoniseerd. Blijkt dat we zelf daar niets beter tegenover mogen stellen.
Israël heeft zelf enkele uitstekende media, een hele hoop hoogopgeleide en uitermate intelligente mensen, en een uitermate gesofisticeerd legerkorps. En geen journalistieke hond die al die woordvoerders op dit moment nog gelooft. Het Midden-Oosten is uitermate complex, alleen wil niemand van de betrokkenen dat echt toegeven. Het gevoelen hier is dat op dit moment de vijand moet worden ontmenselijkt, zodat hij of zij (of het kind) zonder veel gewetensproblemen uit de annalen van de geschiedenis kan worden geschrapt.
Alleen: het werkt niet. Wie zo hardnekkig iets probeert te verbergen, maakt zichzelf verdacht. Daar helpt geen zonnebril aan, zelfs niet van een duur merk.
Hoe zat nu eigenlijk met de Israëlische beschieting van het VN-schooltje vorige dinsdag, waarbij een veertigtal doden vielen - vluchtelingen volgens de VN? Volgens VN-bronnen heeft het Israëlische leger intussen toegegeven dat er hoegenaamd geen twee Hamas-terroristen in het schooltje zaten, laat staan dat ze van daaruit het Israëlische leger onder vuur zouden hebben genomen. Heel erg openlijk wil Israël in zijn bekentenis niet maken, volgens die VN-bronnen, want het verhaal is nogal, euh, pijnlijk.
Dit soort van verhalen geeft altijd een nare smaak in de mond. Toen ik woensdag in Sderot was, zowat het dichtsbijzijnde Israëlische stadje bij de Gaza-strook en als dusdanig doelwit van Qassam-raketten van Hamas, wist iedereen daar wel zeker dat Hamas in het schooltje zat en de vluchtelingen daar als 'menselijk schild' gebruikten. "We hebben bewijzen", zei Izik, een jonge twintiger. "Video's."
"Wil je de namen van de twee Hamas-terroristen?" vroeg luitenant-kolonel Olivier Rafowicz, de bullebak met de zonnebril uit een vorige blog. Hij gaf ze meteen, en ook hij verwees naar videobewijs. Kunnen we dat dan even zien, vroegen we. "Nee, dat is voorlopig 'classified'", zei de kolonel met de zonnebril. Maar hij wist wel heel erg zeker dat de video's bestonden, en de kolonel met de zonnebril is een officiële woordvoerder van het Israëlische leger.
Iedereen maakt fouten, en een vorige inwoner van deze regio heeft ooit iets gezegd over het werpen van de eerste steen. Niet de verspreiding van de foute versie van de feiten op zich is daarom zo verontrustend - al is ze waarschijnlijk niet per ongeluk gebeurd. Wel de gretigheid waarmee zowat iedereen die we hier ontmoeten, de propaganda van het leger napraat - letterlijk, zin voor zin. Allemaal weten ze over video's - die ze zelf nooit hebben gezien - en iedereen spreekt over "burgers die worden gebruikt als menselijke schilden" - op basis van wat? Als twijfel het begin is van wijsheid, scoort de Israëlische samenleving op dit moment niet erg hoog op de wijsheidsindex.
Hetzelfde geldt misschien voor de tegenpartij. Bij ons bezoek naar Hebron vonden we geen enkele Palestijn die veel kritiek wou uiten op Hamas. Een politicoloog gaf alleen toe "dat er in de Palestijnse samenleving wel een debat was geweest over de wijsheid van het lanceren van raketten op Israël". De dame in Gaza die we aan de telefoon kregen, zei dat heel Gaza voor honderd procent achter Hamas stond. Er zijn nochtans geruchten dat er ook burgers in Gaza zijn die het hele gedoe beu zijn, en er zijn enkele Palestijnse stemmen die zich afvragen waarom Hamas de confrontatiekoers opging. Maar hoe de stemming in Gaza precies is, weten we niet.
Boven het hele conflict hangt de "fog of war", de oorlogsmist. De enige manier om die mist tenminste een beetje op te lichten, is door onafhankelijke waarnemers en journalisten toe te laten. Wat de Israëlische regering, zoals de lezers van deze blog intussen weten, blijft weigeren. Tear down that wall, Mr. Olmert.
...Met verder wat tekst & uitleg over het gehanteerde censuurbeleid van Israël...
We vonden onderstaande tekst in de alomgekende wikipedia, evenwel met de volgende mededelingen, die we om misverstanden te vermijden hier onmiddellijk bij plaatsen...
# This article or section has been nominated to be checked for its neutrality. Discussion of this nomination can be found on the talk page. (February 2008)
# This article's factual accuracy is disputed. Please see the relevant discussion on the talk page. (March 2008)
# This article is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. WikiProject Israel or the Israel Portal may be able to help recruit one. (November 2008)
Censorship in Israel
Israel has media censorship laws based on British emergency regulations from 1945 that apply to domestic media, foreign newspapers and wire service transmissions from or through Israel.
The Israeli Film Ratings board rates, limits or bans films deemed obscene, racist, or containing incitement to violence(1). Only a handful of films or plays have been banned outright (plays are no longer censored as of 1989). News censorship is the responsibility of the Israeli Military Censor. Regulations do not require all articles to be submitted for censorship prior to publication, but only those on a known list of sensitive subjects, such as nuclear weapons in Israel (for example, articles on the subjects of politics or economics may be published un-submitted). Failing to do so may cause the reporter to be cut off(2) or, in the case of foreign reporters, be barred from the country.(3)
The list of sensitive subjects, articles on which have to be submitted to censorship prior to publication, is determined within the framework of a censorship agreement between Israeli authorities and the 'Editor's Committee', which is a body of representatives from the Israeli media. "There will be no censorship on political issues, on expressions of opinion or assessments, unless they hint on classified information." (4)
Reporters Without Borders 2007 report on Israel states: "The country's journalists enjoy a freedom not found elsewhere in the region, but though 2006 was one of the safest years for them since the start of the second Intifada in 2000, many problems remain", mainly referring to the physical risks endured by reporters covering the conflict areas between Israel, the Palestinians and the Hizbullah in Lebanon.(5)
The Israeli Military Censor has the power to prevent publication of certain news items. The censorship rules largely concern military issues such as not reporting if a missile hit or missed its target, troop movements, etc. but it is also empowered to control information about the oil industry and water supply.(6)(7) Journalists who bypass the military censor or publish items that were censored may be subject to criminal prosecution and jail time; the censor also has the authority to close newspapers. However, these extreme measures have been rarely used.(8) One notable instance where a newspaper was closed temporarily was in the case of the Kav 300 affair where it was eventually discovered that the censor was used by the Shin Bet to cover up internal wrongdoings in the agency and led to one of the biggest public scandals in Israel during the 1980s and to a reassesment of the role and application of censorship in Israel.
Israeli laws also outlaw hate speech and "expressing support for illegal or terrorist organizations".(7)
Mordechai Vanunu who served 18 years in prison for treason and espionage was released in 2004, but is still under restrictions on speech and movement.(7) A BBC reporter was barred from the country after publishing an interview with him without handing it over to the censors first.(3)
Every journalist working within Israel is required to be accredited by the Israeli Government Press Office. Most applications are just formal, but the office is allowed to deny applications based on political or security considerations.(7)
One very commonly used way for Israeli media to circumvent censorship rules is to quote foreign news sources, which by virtue of being located outside of Israel are not subject to Israeli censorship.
The IsraeliMilitaryCensor is a unit in the IDF Directorate of Military Intelligence which watches over the publication of information regarding the military network, and generally, the security of Israel. The Military Censor, as part of its duty, has authority to suppress information it deems compromising from being made public in the media. In practice however, the ability of the censor to suppress publication of news stories in the Israeli media is rather limited as Israeli news outlets often circumvent the censor by reporting stories "as quoted from foreign news sources," which, since they were originally published outside of Israel, are not subject to the restrictions of the Israeli military censor.
The Censorship Agreement
In 1966, the Censorship Agreement was signed between media representatives and the IDF. The media agreed to abide by the orders of the Military Censor, while the IDF agreed not to misuse its role. Three main points of the arrangement are:
# The purpose of the censorship is to prevent the publication of security information which could benefit the enemy or harm the State.
# There will be no censorship on political issues, on expressions of opinion or assessments, unless they hint on classified information.
# The Military Censor will inform the media which issues demand its approval. The list is subject to change, but always includes two overarching issues: the security of the State, and the immigration of Jews from nations hostile to Israel. (1)
# Extending the terms of the Agreement to all media outlets in Israel, not only media outlets with representatives in the Editorial Committee.
# A simple appeal of a decision rendered by the "Censorship Committee" will not be heard by the Chief of Staff but by a Supreme Court Judge, or retired Judge with an Arbitrator status in the Arbitration Law.
# The terms of the Censorship Agreement will also be extended to foreign journalists working in Israel
# A newspapers will be allowed to cite anything published in another newspaper, unless the Military Censor decides the material poses "imminent and immediate danger" in the spirit of the terms established by the Supreme Court.
# The Military Censor or the Interior Minister are to be prohibited from shutting down a newspaper that is not part of the Agreement without giving it the opportunity to appeal the decision in the courts. (2)
The former president of the Supreme Court, Aharon Barak, ruled that, when in direct conflict, the right to live supersedes the right to expression:
"Precisely because of the existential nature of the security issues, it is important that the public be aware of the host of problems, in a manner where it is able to arrive at wise decisions on the fundamental problems which trouble it. Precisely because the repercussions that decisions of a security nature have on the life of nation, it is suitable to open the door to openly exchanging of views on security issues." (3)
In March 2005, it became public that the Ministry of Defense-appointed Winograd Commission for reviewing the authority of the Military Censor (chaired by former judge, Eliyahu Winograd), whose members were selected by the then-Chief Censor Colonel Miri Regev, would recommend expanding the authority of the Military Censor, by proposing legislation to repeal the 1989 Supreme Court ruling which limited the scope its authority on legitimate news reporting. But since then, opposition for the move (initiated by commission member, professor Asa Kasher) was expressed by professor Gabriela Shalev, another commission member. (4) The Winograd Probe has yet to publish its report.
The Chief Censor
The unit is commanded by the Chief Censor, an officer directly appointed by the Defense Minister. It is an entirely independent position in the IDF, which is neither subordinate to the Defense Minister, nor the Chief of Staff, Aman Director, or any one else on the chain of command or from the political echelon, and is only subject to parliamentary and judicial oversight. As of August 2005, the Chief Censor is Colonel Sima Vaknin. (5)
...& Diegenen die ondanks dit alles tóch blijven beweren dat Israël de enige "èchte" democratie in dat gebied is, moet dat hier toch maar eens proberen komen uit teleggen... want wij hebben daar toch behoorlijk zware twijfels over ...A.U.B. !! Hier niet komen lullen over oorlog die bepaalde vrijheden opschort. Het recht op vrije informatie & onafhankelijke nieuwsgaring kan niet, zegge & schrijve NIET worden opgeschort !! PUNT.
Trouwens, een staat die dit tolereert is een totalitaire staat !! PUNT !!
...& ja, last but not the least wat cijfertjes... Cijfertjes die we ~voor de duidelijkheid~ gaan halen zijn bij "Israeli human rights groups"...
Update for 11 January '09, morning (GMT+2)
Gaza : at least 870 killed, of them at least 230 children and 93 women. More than half those killed since the ground incursion began (400) are women and children. Over 3,600 injured, of them over 400 severely so.
Israel : 10 killed, of them 1 woman and 7 soldiers. Over 78 civilians injured, of them 4 severely injured, not including those treated for shock , and 60 soldiers injured, of them one in critical condition
(N.V.D.R. : ...waaronder 4 journalisten
1. Ala'a Murtaja working for a local radio station.
2. Sameer Khaleefeh reporter at the national Palestinian TV and Sudanese TV .
3. Hamzeh Shaheen journalist photographer working for Shihab News Agency.
4. Ehab Alwahedi Cameraman at Palestine TV.
Gaza 2009 How to cast lead into gold ?!... ofte "De Gaaaz van Gaza !!" - Deel 1
Laat ons eventjes wat puntjes op wat i's zetten... Want dat mag zo stilaan ook eens gebeuren...
Gaza... de terroristen van Hamas & de disproportionele reactie van Israël... Wij begrepen niet zo meteen de juiste reden van de gebeurtenissen van de laatste dagen & dus gingen wij daar maar achter op zoek... Sommige flipo's hier op onze eigenste bloggensites begonnen al te raaskallen over "Heilige Oorlogen". Maar als er nu iets is waarvan onze haren gaan recht staan, is het wel de term/het begrip "Heilige Oorlog"...
Laat ons daarbij duidelijk zijn & dus onomwonden stellen waar 't 'm om gaat : oorlogen draaiden ~& dat gold zowel in het verleden als nù~ nog A-L-T-IJ-D om geld - PUNT !!
...& In dat opzicht vroegen wij ons dus af waarover dit conflict nu juist ook weer over ging. Die zandbak vol vluchtelingen leek ons niet meteen een èchte vetpot. Dat gelul van die qassamraketten hebben we ook al uitgelegd Kortom ...er is dus iets loos met dit conflict ...de nakende Israëlische verkiezingen misschien ?!... Neen !! Er moet nog iets anders zijn & kijk... leest u eventjes met grote oogjes met ons mee & let u daarbij vooral op de data van de publicaties die dateren van lang voor de aanval... Het gaat hier dus wel degelijk om het alchemistische principe van lood in goud te veranderen... In dit geval via gas & olie !! ...Het is misschien daarom juist dat deze ganse militaire operatie van Israël de codenaam "cast lead" meekreeg ?!...
Published October 2007
Vol. 7, No. 17 - 19 October 2007
Does the Prospective Purchase of British Gas from Gaza's Coastal Waters Threaten Israel's National Security?
Lt. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon(*)
---------- (*) Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Moshe Yaalon is a distinguished fellow at the Shalem Center's Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies. Capping a distinguished career as an officer in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), he served as Chief of Staff from 2002 to 2005, during which time he led the army's successful effort to quell the Palestinian terror war launched in September 2000.
# British Gas is supposed to be the crown jewel of the Palestinian economy, and provide part of the solution to Israel's pressing energy needs. The British energy giant, now called the "BG Group," and its local partners - the Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas and the private, Palestinian-owned Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) - are currently involved in advanced negotiations to sell to Israel massive amounts of natural gas - reserves of nearly 1.4 trillion cubic feet - that BG first discovered in 2000 off the Gaza coast. The market value of the gas has been estimated at $4 billion. Therefore, sale of the gas to Israel would mean a billion-dollar windfall for the PA and, potentially, for the Palestinian people.
# Unfortunately, British assessments, including those of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, that Gaza gas can be a key driver of an economically more viable Palestinian state, are misguided. Proceeds of a Palestinian gas sale to Israel would likely not trickle down to help an impoverished Palestinian public. Rather, based on Israel's past experience, the proceeds will likely serve to fund further terror attacks against Israel. No less threatening is the fact that terror organizations associated with the global Jihad, like al-Qaeda, will be highly motivated to attack any British Gas installation off Gaza's shores that provided fuel to Israel.
# For Israel, the need for BG's gas may have already taken a toll. It is possible that the prospect of an Israeli gas purchase may have played a role in influencing the Olmert cabinet to avoid ordering a major IDF ground operation in Gaza, despite at least 1,000 rocket and mortar attacks against southern Israel since the Hamas takeover of Gaza in June 2007.
# Clearly, Israel needs additional natural gas sources, while the Palestinian people sorely need new sources of revenue. However, with Gaza currently a radical Islamic stronghold, and the West Bank in danger of becoming the next one, Israel's funneling a billion dollars into local or international bank accounts on behalf of the Palestinian Authority would be tantamount to Israel's bankrolling terror against itself. Therefore, an urgent review is required of the far-reaching security implications of an Israeli decision to purchase Gaza gas.
Selling British Gas to Israel: A Key British Foreign Policy Goal Since 2000
The British government seems to have pinned much of its Middle East policy on the successful outcome of British Gas negotiations with Israel. A September 18, 2007, report in the Arabic al-Quds newspaper noted that the British government views Gaza's natural gas reserves as central to 10 Downing Street's "economic road map" for the Middle East region."(1) Tony Blair's position, first as prime minister and now as the very active Quartet Envoy for Palestinian Economic Development, has been that the Palestinian Authority's share of the gas sale proceeds, which could reach well over a billion dollars, could serve as the economic fuel to jump-start the Palestinian economy and advance the peace process.
The Blair government's admirable goal of helping the Palestinian economy wean itself from about a billion dollars a year in international handouts may have driven BG in November 1999 to make former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and his tightly-controlled Palestinian Authority a local partner in the gas project, together with the Athens-based Palestinian concern, the Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC). Arafat clearly understood the financial potential of a billion dollars in royalties. Soon after the gas discovery, BG and its local Palestinian licensees approached the State of Israel to buy the gas. Then Prime Minister Tony Blair personally urged former Prime Ministers Barak and Sharon to finalize a deal.
Despite Blair's enthusiasm for the deal, Mossad Chief Meir Dagan opposed the transaction on security grounds, that the proceeds would fund terror.(2) Israeli fears were justified. Arafat and Fatah leaders stole billions from the public till to finance terror against Israel, as documents recovered by the Israel Defense Forces from Arafat's compound revealed.(3) Israel also faced virtually non-stop Palestinian terror attacks from 2000 to 2005, resulting in more than 1,000 Israelis killed.(4)
There had been no comprehensive interagency security assessment between 2002 and 2005 regarding a potential BG deal with Israel. However, Dagan's opposition to it (as noted by Member of Knesset Gilad Erdan in a 2006 speech to the Knesset Plenum) was also shared by former Prime Minister Sharon. Today, Prime Minister Olmert has revived the relationship with BG and has exerted much energy to reach a definitive agreement for the purchase of the offshore natural gas.
---------- (1) The Economic Road Map for the Middle East," Al Quds, September 18, 2007.
(2) Member of Knesset Gilad Erdan, Address to the Knesset on "The Intention of Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to Purchase Gas from the Palestinians When Payment Will Serve Hamas," March 1, 2
(3) Dan Diker and Khaled Abu Toameh, "What Happened to Reform of the Palestinian Authority?" Jerusalem Issue Brief, vol. 3, no. 20, March 3, 2004, http://www.jcpa.org/brief/brief3-20.htm. See also Lesley Stahl, "Arafat's Billions," CBSNews.com, November 9, 2003.
Since Sharon's opposition to the BG deal, and its subsequent collapse in 2005, strategic security threats to Israel have worsened considerably. Iran has fully penetrated Palestinian areas, particularly Gaza, from which its proxies Hamas and Islamic Jihad have fired some 2,000 rockets at Israel since its 2005 withdrawal. Iran is today the major funder, trainer and provider of advanced weaponry to its various Shiite and Sunni proxies including Hizbullah in southern Lebanon, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza, and the Fatah-associated Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades in the West Bank. Iran funneled more than $250 million to Hamas in 2006 alone. Other Sunni Jihadi groups associated with al-Qaeda and the global Jihad also operate in Gaza.
Iran is also interested in controlling energy assets in the region and would likely target off-shore gas reserves either as a "carrot" to induce Hamas cooperation or as a "stick" against Hamas in the event of diverging interests with Teheran.
Hamas' "Partnership" in the BG Transaction
British officials have expressed confidence that the gas proceeds can bypass Hamas and benefit the Palestinian public by being deposited and monitored in international bank accounts.(5) Israel has also proposed paying for the gas in goods and services.(6) However, these assessments are mistaken. A gas transaction with the Palestinian Authority will, by definition, involve Hamas. Hamas will either benefit from the royalties or it will sabotage the project and launch attacks against Fatah, the gas installations, Israel - or all three.
Soon after Hamas' takeover of Gaza in June 2007, Hamas' economic minister in the PA government, Ziad Zaza, blasted BG as "an embarrassment to the Palestinian people," while labeling the transaction an "act of theft" against Palestinian lands.(7) However, Hamas soon reversed its position and now insists on renegotiating the agreed percentages in the deal to reflect its participation.(8) Dr. Mohammed Mustafa, head of the PA's Palestinian Investment Fund, a local BG partner, has indicated on more than one occasion that at least 10 percent of the gas proceeds will be directed to Gaza and that arrangements could be made to satisfy "the organizations" - meaning Hamas - in negotiations.(9) This means, in simple terms, that the current terms of the deal are still unsatisfactory to Hamas, although it stands to receive a minimum direct payout of $100 million, while the PA's Fatah leadership will likely pocket close to $900 million.
Hamas, in anticipation of its participation in BG negotiations, has confirmed its capability to bomb Israel's strategic gas and electricity installations in Ashkelon.(10) This type of threat is a pressure tactic against Israel that will most likely increase if the BG deal moves closer to completion. It is clear that without an overall military operation to uproot Hamas control of Gaza, no drilling work can take place without the consent of the radical Islamic movement.
---------- (5) Mathew Krieger, "British Gas, Israel to Freeze Hamas Out of $4B Gas Deal," Jerusalem Post, July 5, 2007. Senior British diplomats also indicated in July 2007 that gas proceeds would be placed in international bank accounts.
(6) Uri Yablonka, "Israel Close to BG Deal," Ha'aretz, July 2007.
(7) Sonia Verma and Steve Hawkes, "Hamas Says BG Plan to Pump Gas to Israel an Act of Theft," Times (UK), May 24, 2007.
(8) Interview in Arabic with Hamas official Mahmoud Al Zahar by a senior foreign journalist based in Israel, July 2007.
(9) Pazit Ravina, "One Hundred Million Dollars for the Hamas Command," Makor Rishon, August, 18, 2007 (Hebrew).
(10) Wa'ri Suleiman, "Was Gaza Gas One Reason for the Coup?" AMIN website, June 23, 2007, http://www.amin.org/look/amin/press.htm. Wa'ri claimed that Hamas timed the coup in Gaza according to the reports of progress in negotiations on the BG deal in order to be party to it. He also noted that if Hamas' participation was rejected, Hamas would launch a "rocket intifada" covering all the areas in reach around
Israel's Past Experience: Money Flowing into PA Also Funds Fatah Terror Groups
Israel's experience during the Oslo years indicates Palestinian gas profits would likely end up funding terrorism against Israel. The threat is not limited to Hamas. Since the establishment of the PA in 1993, monies that flowed into the Palestinian Authority from international donations, tax revenues, or profits from business with Israelis and other international investors - such as the Jericho Casino and other transactions - have ended up funding terror groups such as the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah Tanzim, and others. Simply put, once the funds reached the PA in the past, they could not be controlled by any outside authority.
For example, in the Oslo era, it has already been disclosed that monies that flowed through the PA's PCSC - a division of the PA's Palestinian Investment Fund (PIF), one of the partners in the current British Gas negotiations - ended up funding terror actions against Israel by the Fatah-associated Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades.(11) Another good example is the money raised by Hamas charities in the United States that U.S. government prosecutors now charge is funding Hamas terror activities in Gaza.(12) True, part of these monies raised by charity ended up funding the Hamas' "Dawa" social programs in Gaza. However, a good portion of these financial resources also ended up funding terror against Israel. While senior British officials have continued to call Hamas "a problem that can be solved," their confidence is misplaced if they believe that they can find international financial mechanisms to bypass Hamas and other terror groups. Simply put, Israel's longstanding experience shows empirically that it is impossible to prevent at least some of the gas proceeds from reaching Palestinian terror groups.
---------- (11) Uzrad Lev, In the Pocket of the Chairman (Tel Aviv, 2005), pp. 162-63, 239 (Hebrew).
(12) Associated Press, "HLF Found Guilty of Funding Hamas," Jerusalem Post, September 18, 2007.
BG Gas Deal Frees Hamas from Isolation
BG's negotiations with Israel, that have the full backing of the British government, have already helped unshackle Hamas from political and diplomatic isolation. While British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's official position is that Britain will not talk to Hamas as long as its goal is to destroy Israel, a number of prominent voices in Britain including the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee are calling for reengaging with "moderate" Hamas elements.(13)
Former MI6 official Alistair Crooke, who was also a former advisor to EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, has "opened up unofficial channels of communications between Hamas and Western governments."(14) Quartet envoy Tony Blair has also advocated speaking to Hamas to replicate the Northern Ireland model.(15) Crooke's formal plan, entitled "Politicizing Hamas," was backed by Blair during his tenure as prime minister. Crooke's ideas today are clearly illustrated in the recent Labor conference speech by Foreign Minister David Miliband, who praised Hamas for the release of BBC journalist Alan Johnston and called for "listening" to Islamists.(16) Senior Hamas official Ahmad Yusuf has indicated that many behind-the-scenes meetings between Hamas and European officials have been keys to a Hamas reengagement in the diplomatic process.(17)
Furthermore, current British Gas negotiations have already helped fuel Fatah and Hamas discussions of a possible reengagement. Hamas' Yusuf has also indicated that despite U.S. and Israeli isolation of Hamas, Fatah and Hamas have been conducting back-channel negotiations to resolve their differences and reenergize a national unity government.(18) Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayad has also continued to pay the salaries of the Hamas Executive Force in Gaza.
---------- (13) Melanie Phillips, "Engaged to Hamas," Jerusalem Post, September 15, 2007.
(17) Ahmad Yusuf, "Hamas Is the Key," Ha'aertz, September 21, 2007.
(18) "Ahmad Yusuf Reveals: Secret Draft Negotiations between Hamas and Fatah," Maan Palestinian News Agency September 20, 2007 (Arabic), and Khaled Abu Toameh, "Hamas Ready to Settle Tough Issues," Jerusalem Post, September 21, 2007.
A Prospective Gaza Off-Shore Gas Installation: A Magnet for Global Jihad
The Israeli government reportedly intends to deploy IDF naval combat vessels to protect a future British-Palestinian gas installation about 800 feet below sea level. According to this strategy, the BG installation would be guarded against above sea terror attacks while diver terrorists would not be able to execute attacks so far below sea level.(19)
However, even with IDF protection, the sea-based British gas installation will be a very attractive target for both local and international terror groups. Al-Qaeda's deadly "rubber dingy" attack in 2000 against the USS Cole is just one illustration. Hamas has announced the formation of a 150-man light naval force that will be deployed to protect "Palestinian interests" in Gaza's territorial waters.(20) Hamas has also smuggled high-quality weaponry into Gaza via underground tunnels from Egyptian Sinai, including medium-range Katyusha rockets, much of it supplied and financed by Iran. Some of the weaponry captured on the Karine A weapons ship in 2002 by the IDF included 22-km.-range Katyusha rockets and amphibious equipment that could be effective in attacks against an off-shore gas installation. Moreover, the tens of tons of heavy weaponry that have been smuggled into Gaza since 2006 alone via the Rafah tunnels include Katyusha rockets.
Al-Qaeda would also clearly be interested in sabotaging gas flow to Israel. Global Jihad groups, particularly al-Qaeda, would also be interested in attacking British targets, as was illustrated in the London attacks of July 7, 2005, and the ongoing al-Qaeda operations against British forces in Iraq. Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades, and other local terror groups will be highly motivated to attack BG gas drilling installations, particularly to sabotage a multi-billion dollar deal that excludes them.
---------- (19) Yablonka "Israel Close to BG Deal."
(20) Ali Waked, "Hamas Establishes Naval Force," Ynet News, August 9, 2007 (Hebrew).
BG and Israeli Security Decisions Regarding Gaza
Israel must consider whether it can afford to be dependant on the Palestinians for such a critical energy asset as natural gas. If Israel becomes the Palestinians' main gas customer in a multi-year agreement, the PA or Palestinian terror groups could use the continued supply of gas as a lever to pressure Israel to make additional concessions and "gestures" as part of political negotiations. More significantly, the Palestinians could threaten to cut off the natural gas supply to Israel to prevent the IDF from responding to terror attacks and other threats emanating from Gaza or the West Bank.
It is possible that the prospect of a major natural gas transaction with the Palestinians has been a factor in the Israeli cabinet's refusal to launch a Defensive Shield II operation in Gaza. This concern is a result of the high price Israel has already paid for its relatively muted responses to Palestinian rocket attacks from Gaza. The September 11, 2007, rocket attack by the Iranian-commanded and financed Palestinian Islamic Jihad, that wounded 61 IDF soldiers asleep in their Negev base, is a recent example. Despite hundreds of rockets and mortars, and various terrorist infiltration attempts against Israel from Gaza, there still has been no comprehensive military response by Israel.21
(22) Yablonka, "Israel Close to BG Deal."
Have British Gas Negotiations Prejudiced Israel from Exploring Other Supply Options?
Another national security issue that must be considered is whether Israel's preference to advance the British Gas purchase has prevented or delayed government consideration of other natural gas options. For example, BG's original license was for drilling and exploration of natural gas off of Haifa Bay with the Israeli-owned drilling company Yam Thetis. While the license was granted in 1998, the nearly single focus on pursuing the Gaza gas option resulted in major delays in exploration and drilling off the coast of Haifa. It is possible that Yam Thetis will eventually be able to provide sufficient amounts of natural gas found in Israel's coastal waters, thus obviating the need to take unnecessary risks at this juncture in the Palestinian transaction. In fact, Yam Thetis is currently arguing this case in a petition to Israel's Supreme Court.
Conduct a Thorough Security Assessment Before Approving the British Gas Deal
The multiple dangers lurking behind Israel's potential natural gas purchase from BG have not deterred another attempt at finalizing a deal, due in large part to the redoubled efforts of Quartet envoy Tony Blair. The latest indications are that the BG Group, with the full backing of the British government, intends to finalize a multi-year agreement with Israel before the end of 2007.22
The dangers inherent in Israel's potential purchase of British Gas from the marine reserves off Gaza require an immediate, comprehensive, interagency security assessment by the IDF, Israeli Security Agency, Mossad, and other organs. This type of interagency assessment did not take place when I was IDF Chief of Staff from 2002 to 2005. Since then, to the best of my understanding, no comprehensive security assessment has occurred, despite the intention of the parties to sign an agreement in the coming weeks.
Regional and local security conditions have worsened since 2005, and Israel must be prepared to face a possible two-front war against Hamas in Gaza, and Syria and Hizbullah in the north. Therefore, Israel will pay a painful price in its security if the British Gas transaction were to take place in the foreseeable future.
Israel needs additional sources of energy, including natural gas, and the Palestinians clearly need to create a peaceful civil society and a self-sustaining economy. However, with Gaza currently a radical Islamic stronghold, and the West Bank in danger of becoming the next one, Israel's funneling a billion dollars into local or international bank accounts on behalf of the Palestinian Authority would be tantamount to Israel's bankrolling terror against itself. Therefore, an urgent review is required of the far-reaching security implications of an Israeli decision to purchase Gaza gas by the State Comptroller's office or another external review panel.
Gaza 2009 How to cast lead into gold ?!... ofte "De Gaaaz van Gaza !!" - Deel 2
Begin deel (2) ...Het vervolg...!!
Gesnopen beste ?!... Wij zijn dus héél erg gerust gesteld want blijkbaar is dit dus weer eens bekend terrein... Namelijk één van die terreinen waarop een menselijk leven niks waard is & géén enkel ander principe standhoudt dan dat van pùùr economisch eigenbelang... lees dus : big money !!...
We vonden een zeer degelijke samenvatting van de situatie waarvan we jullie natuurlijk laten meegenieten...
Global Research, January 8, 2009
War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza's Offshore Gas Fields
by Michel Chossudovsky
The military invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israeli Forces bears a direct relation to the control and ownership of strategic offshore gas reserves.
This is a war of conquest. Discovered in 2000, there are extensive gas reserves off the Gaza coastline.
The rights to the offshore gas field are respectively British Gas (60 percent); Consolidated Contractors (CCC) (30 percent); and the Investment Fund of the Palestinian Authority (10 percent). (Haaretz, October 21, 2007).
The PA-BG-CCC agreement includes field development and the construction of a gas pipeline.(Middle East Economic Digest, Jan 5, 2001).
The BG licence covers the entire Gazan offshore marine area, which is contiguous to several Israeli offshore gas facilities. (See Map below). It should be noted that 60 percent of the gas reserves along the Gaza-Israel coastline belong to Palestine.
The BG Group drilled two wells in 2000: Gaza Marine-1 and Gaza Marine-2. Reserves are estimated by British Gas to be of the order of 1.4 trillion cubic feet, valued at approximately 4 billion dollars. These are the figures made public by British Gas. The size of Palestine's gas reserves could be much larger.
Who Owns the Gas Fields
The issue of sovereignty over Gaza's gas fields is crucial. From a legal standpoint, the gas reserves belong to Palestine.
The death of Yasser Arafat, the election of the Hamas government and the ruin of the Palestinian Authority have enabled Israel to establish de facto control over Gaza's offshore gas reserves.
British Gas (BG Group) has been dealing with the Tel Aviv government. In turn, the Hamas government has been bypassed in regards to exploration and development rights over the gas fields.
The election of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2001 was a major turning point. Palestine's sovereignty over the offshore gas fields was challenged in the Israeli Supreme Court. Sharon stated unequivocally that "Israel would never buy gas from Palestine" intimating that Gaza's offshore gas reserves belong to Israel.
In 2003, Ariel Sharon, vetoed an initial deal, which would allow British Gas to supply Israel with natural gas from Gaza's offshore wells. (The Independent, August 19, 2003)
The election victory of Hamas in 2006 was conducive to the demise of the Palestinian Authority, which became confined to the West Bank, under the proxy regime of Mahmoud Abbas.
In 2006, British Gas "was close to signing a deal to pump the gas to Egypt." (Times, May, 23, 2007). According to reports, British Prime Minister Tony Blair intervened on behalf of Israel with a view to shunting the agreement with Egypt.
The following year, in May 2007, the Israeli Cabinet approved a proposal by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert "to buy gas from the Palestinian Authority." The proposed contract was for $4 billion, with profits of the order of $2 billion of which one billion was to go the Palestinians.
Tel Aviv, however, had no intention on sharing the revenues with Palestine. An Israeli team of negotiators was set up by the Israeli Cabinet to thrash out a deal with the BG Group, bypassing both the Hamas government and the Palestinian Authority:
"Israeli defence authorities want the Palestinians to be paid in goods and services and insist that no money go to the Hamas-controlled Government." (Ibid, emphasis added)
The objective was essentially to nullify the contract signed in 1999 between the BG Group and the Palestinian Authority under Yasser Arafat.
Under the proposed 2007 agreement with BG, Palestinian gas from Gaza's offshore wells was to be channeled by an undersea pipeline to the Israeli seaport of Ashkelon, thereby transferring control over the sale of the natural gas to Israel.
The deal fell through. The negotiations were suspended:
Israel's intent was to foreclose the possibility that royalties be paid to the Palestinians. In December 2007, The BG Group withdrew from the negotiations with Israel and in January 2008 they closed their office in Israel.BG website().
Invasion Plan on The Drawing Board
The invasion plan of the Gaza Strip under "Operation Cast Lead" was set in motion in June 2008, according to Israeli military sources:
"Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago [June or before June] , even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas."(Barak Ravid, Operation "Cast Lead": Israeli Air Force strike followed months of planning, Haaretz, December 27, 2008)
That very same month, the Israeli authorities contacted British Gas, with a view to resuming crucial negotiations pertaining to the purchase of Gaza's natural gas:
"Both Ministry of Finance director general Yarom Ariav and Ministry of National Infrastructures director general Hezi Kugler agreed to inform BG of Israel's wish to renew the talks.
The sources added that BG has not yet officially responded to Israel's request, but that company executives would probably come to Israel in a few weeks to hold talks with government officials." (Globes online- Israel's Business Arena, June 23, 2008)
The decision to speed up negotiations with British Gas (BG Group) coincided, chronologically, with the planning of the invasion of Gaza initiated in June. It would appear that Israel was anxious to reach an agreement with the BG Group prior to the invasion, which was already in an advanced planning stage.
Moreover, these negotiations with British Gas were conducted by the Ehud Olmert government with the knowledge that a military invasion was on the drawing board. In all likelihood, a new "post war" political-territorial arrangement for the Gaza strip was also being contemplated by the Israeli government.
In fact, negotiations between British Gas and Israeli officials were ongoing in October 2008, 2-3 months prior to the commencement of the bombings on December 27th.
In November 2008, the Israeli Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of National Infrastructures instructed Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) to enter into negotiations with British Gas, on the purchase of natural gas from the BG's offshore concession in Gaza. (Globes, November 13, 2008)
"Ministry of Finance director general Yarom Ariav and Ministry of National Infrastructures director general Hezi Kugler wrote to IEC CEO Amos Lasker recently, informing him of the government's decision to allow negotiations to go forward, in line with the framework proposal it approved earlier this year.
The IEC board, headed by chairman Moti Friedman, approved the principles of the framework proposal a few weeks ago. The talks with BG Group will begin once the board approves the exemption from a tender." (Globes Nov. 13, 2008)
Gaza and Energy Geopolitics
The military occupation of Gaza is intent upon transferring the sovereignty of the gas fields to Israel in violation of international law.
What can we expect in the wake of the invasion?
What is the intent of Israel with regard to Palestine's Natural Gas reserves?
A new territorial arrangement, with the stationing of Israeli and/or "peacekeeping" troops?
The militarization of the entire Gaza coastline, which is strategic for Israel?
The outright confiscation of Palestinian gas fields and the unilateral declaration of Israeli sovereignty over Gaza's maritime areas?
If this were to occur, the Gaza gas fields would be integrated into Israel's offshore installations, which are contiguous to those of the Gaza Strip. (See Map 1 above).
These various offshore installations are also linked up to Israel's energy transport corridor, extending from the port of Eilat, which is an oil pipeline terminal, on the Red Sea to the seaport - pipeline terminal at Ashkelon, and northwards to Haifa, and eventually linking up through a proposed Israeli-Turkish pipeline with the Turkish port of Ceyhan.
Ceyhan is the terminal of the Baku, Tblisi Ceyhan Trans Caspian pipeline. "What is envisaged is to link the BTC pipeline to the Trans-Israel Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline, also known as Israel's Tipline." (See Michel Chossudovsky, The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil, Global Research, July 23, 2006)
...& Voor de laatste twijfelaars zetten we nog dit laatste artikel erbij, zodat het zelfs voor een totaal gelobotomisserde chimpansee moet beginnen duidelijk te worden dat er nooit voldoende doden zullen kunnen vallen langs Palestijnse kant. Het is een heruitgave van het verhaal van de Noord en Zuid- Amerikaanse indianen die telkens weer op een verkeerde plaats een reservaat gekregen hadden... maar dus deze keer wonen de indianen in kwestie... in Gaza !!
From The Times - May 23, 2007
BG Group at centre of $4bn deal to supply Gaza gas to Israel
The British energy firm is set to agree terms of a $4bn, 15-year deal over gas discovered off the Gaza coast
Steve Hawkes and Sonia Verma in Jerusalem
BG Group is poised to agree the terms of an historic $4 billion (£2 billion) deal to supply Palestinian gas to Israel from a discovery off the Gaza coastline, The Times has learnt.
Representatives from the British energy company are scheduled next week to meet a team of negotiators chosen by the Israeli Cabinet to thrash out a 15-year contract. Despite the violence in Gaza, the Israeli Foreign Ministry has insisted that it wants to conclude a deal as soon as possible.
It would enable BG Group, the former owner of British Gas, to begin to develop an offshore field that is the Palestine Authoritys only natural resource. The move would mark an unprecedented milestone in Middle East relations. There would be enough gas to provide 10 per cent of Israels annual energy requirement, and the Palestinians would receive total royalties of $1 billion. Sources in the Middle East note that the sensitive talks could be derailed at any time by the acute political tension that surrounds the deal.
However, Nigel Shaw, the BG Group vice-president in the region, said: We are making progress. There are commercial issues to be completed and we also require bilateral agreement between the two governments to get this project across the line. But this is a chance for greater economic prosperity in Palestine and that is only good for peace.
The signing of heads of terms would mark an amazing turnaround, given the political and legal disputes that have dogged the project since BG Group discovered the Gaza Marine field in 2000. It holds one trillion cubic feet of gas, the equivalent of 150 million barrels of oil, equivalent to a large North Sea field.
Six years ago Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister at the time, vowed that Israel would never buy gas from its neighbour. The project also was held up by a legal challenge in the Israeli Supreme Court to establish whether the Palestinians had any right to the discovery. Last year BG Group was close to signing a deal to pump the gas to Egypt before Tony Blair intervened and asked the company to give Israel a second chance. Three weeks ago the Israeli Cabinet approved a proposal by Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, to buy gas from the Palestinian Authority. The Cabinet recognised the need for new energy sources to feed Israels rapidly growing economy.
Under BG Groups plans, gas from the field would be transported by an undersea pipeline to the seaport of Ashkelon. Although Israeli insiders are confident of a deal,significant questions remain, not least how payments to the Palestinian Authority will be made. Israeli defence authorities want the Palestinians to be paid in goods and services and insist that no money go to the Hamas-controlled Government.
Gaza 2009 De zoveelste doodgewone oorlog of een nieuwe genocide ?!...
Is dit de zoveelste doodgewone oorlog of wordt dit dan toch de zoveelste genocide... Iets wat we van Israël zo 'n beetje mogen verwachten na al het vorige wat Israël al in haar ~"burger"~ (-)Oorlogen heeft uitgestoken... 't Is zo precies weer één van die oorlogen waar we met z'n allen lijdzaam gaan op toezien, zonder ook maar even een protesterende stem te laten horen of een concrete poot naar uit te steken ?!... Het wordt dus waarschijnlijk de zoveelste beschamende vuile oorlog waarbij we ons ~zoals de zoveel andere keren~ schokschouderend omdraaien & er ons weer eens weinig of niets van gaan aantrekken, want het is toch maar de zoveelste "ver-van-onze-bed-show" ?!... Kortom, wordt dit dan toch de zoveelste schandvlek op gebied van politieke moed ~& dan zeggen we zowel op nationaal als internationaal gebied~ omdat er teveel "andere grote belangen" op het spel staan ?!...
Wij vreesden er al voor & deze vrees wordt precies ook alleen maar bewaarheidt als we zo wat het nieuws volgen...
Als de internationaal erkende pers al niet ter plekke wordt toegelaten, dan zijn daar meestal ook goede redenen voor... Bijvoorbeeld omdat er zaken gebeuren, die maar beter het licht niet zien... lees : de wereldpers niet halen...
Laten we dus zo eens hier & daar ons oor te luisteren leggen & u konde doen van hoe 't er ginder ter plaatse in Gaza aan toe gaat...
donderdag 08 januari 2009
'Inwoners Gaza zijn kapot'
JERUZALEM - INTERVIEW EVELYN LERNOUT, HULPVERLEENSTER OXFAM Het Israëlische leger heeft gisteren drie uur lang een grenspost van Gaza opengesteld voor een hulpkonvooi. 'Natuurlijk verwelkomen we elke vooruitgang, maar in de praktijk is het resultaat beperkt', zegt Evelyn Lernout van Oxfam, in Jeruzalem. 'Er vallen nog altijd doden en gewonden, de hulp bereikt alleen mensen dichtbij de grensovergang, en de hele situatie in Gaza blijft een catastrofe. De mensen zijn kapot.'
Van onze redacteur
foto hiernaast : Palestijnen in het vluchtelingenkamp van Jabaliya bidden voor enkele van de 43 doden die dinsdagavond vielen bij de Israëlische beschieting van een VN-school. epa
In het kantoor van de hulporganisatie Oxfam, in een buitenwijk van Jeruzalem, heerst frustratie na twaalf dagen oorlog in Gaza en achttien maanden van Israëlische blokkade die het offensief van vorige week voorafgingen. 'De situatie in Gaza was voordien al verschrikkelijk en nu is het breekpunt voor de bevolking ver gepasseerd', zegt Evelyn Lernout (30).
'De mensen zijn kapot. Er mogen nauwelijks hulpgoederen binnen, de inwoners hebben geen gas om te koken, geen zuiver water, en door de bombardementen vaak geen dak boven het hoofd. Geen enkele van onze drie lokale medewerkers woont nog in zijn eigen huis. En als er gewonden vallen, worden vaak ook de ambulances beschoten.'
Dinsdagavond bestookten Israëlische mortieren een school onder bestuur van de Verenigde Naties - volgens Israël waren er twee Hamasstrijders in de buurt, die samen met een veertigtal burgers werden gedood. Na de internationale verontwaardiging bleek de Israëlische regering bereid tot het instellen van een 'humanitaire corridor': drie uur per dag, van 13 tot 16 uur lokale tijd, moeten de wapens zwijgen en mogen hulpgoederen het omsingelde Gaza weer binnen.
'Natuurlijk verwelkomt Oxfam elke poging om de toegang van humanitaire hulp tot Gaza te verbeteren', zegt Lernout. 'Maar een bestand van drie uur per dag is onvoldoende. Wij vragen een onmiddellijk en volledig staakt-het-vuren, waarbij de Israëlische regering de toegang voor hulpgoederen moet faciliteren, niet beperken of controleren. De reële impact van zulke kortstondige maatregelen is beperkt, omdat het onveilig blijft om de burgers in Gaza echt te bevoorraden.'
'Gaza is bovendien doormidden gesneden door het Israëlische leger. Alleen zij die in de directe omgeving van de doorvoer- en distributiepunten wonen, geraken aan goederen. De meerderheid van de bevolking heeft geen directe toegang tot voedsel, medicijnen en andere essentiële goederen. Zij worden aan hun lot overgelaten. Er zitten mensen vast in het puin van hun huis, zonder enige hulp. Zolang de grensovergangen niet onmiddellijk en volledig worden geopend voor humanitaire hulp én hulpverleners, neemt de humanitaire crisis alleen verder toe.'
De noden van Gaza zijn volgens Lernout immens, en het feit dat de internationale hulporganisaties - net zoals buitenlandse journalisten - worden buiten gehouden door het Israëlische leger, bemoeilijkt de zaken verder. 'Wij werken met lokale medewerkers en partnerorganisaties, terwijl we zelf een uurtje verder in Jeruzalem zitten', zegt Lernout. 'Met onze lokale medewerkers hebben we alleen nog telefonisch contact. Het enige wat je kan vragen, is telkens weer: is iedereen OK? Is je familie veilig? En intussen hoor je op de achtergrond de schoten en de explosies.'
Voor de bombardementen bijna twee weken geleden begonnen, werden de noden van de bevolking van Gaza geschat op een aanvoer van 400 trucks met hulpgoederen per dag. 'Eergisteren heeft het Israëlische leger er veertig van de Verenigde Naties doorgelaten', zegt Lernout. 'In de maanden tevoren zelden meer dan honderd per dag.'
'Zelfs de trucks die worden binnengelaten, geraken nauwelijks verder dan de grensposten. De enige grenspost waar hulp door mag, is Kerem Shalom, helemaal in het zuiden. De aanvoerband voor graan via de grenspost Karni is gesloten, en de pijpleiding voor brandstof via Natal Oz is ook afgesloten. Stel dat de ziekenhuizen zonder elektriciteit en brandstof voor hun generatoren vallen, wat gebeurt er dan met couveuses en beademingstoestellen voor patiënten in intensive care? Intussen houden de gevechten niet op en blijven de gewonden toestromen. Zonder een onmiddellijk staakt-het-vuren en een complete toegang voor humanitaire hulp zijn de gevolgen niet te overzien.'
...& De al evenmin te verdenken Gazet van Antwerpen die sympathieën zou hebben voor...
Druk op Israël verhoogt nu dodentol snel groeit
Ondanks de korte periodes van staakt-het-vuren heeft Israël ook donderdag delen van de Gazastrook zwaar onder vuur genomen. Daardoor liep de dodentol al op boven 750. Ondertussen lijkt het er ook op dat Libanon zich in het conflict wil mengen. Enkele organisaties willen Israël aanklagen voor het plegen van oorlogsmisdaden. Ook het Rode Kruis uit zware kritiek op Israël.
De stad Rafah, vlak bij de Egyptische grens, werd het slachtoffer van tientallen luchtaanvallen. Het was vooral Israëls bedoeling om de lokale smokkeltunnels te vernietigen, die dienen om Hamas te bevoorraden.
Zuiden zwaar onder vuur
Aan de grensovergang Kisufim, richting de stad Khan Younis, zijn verschillende Israëlische tanks het zuiden van de Gazastrook binnengetrokken.
Volgens de laatste cijfers zouden bij de heropflakkering van het geweld nu al 763 Palestijnen en 11 Israeli's om het leven gekomen zijn. Meer dan 3000 mensen raakten gewond.
Rode Kruis kwaad
Opnieuw stierven tientallen burgers, waaronder vrouwen en kinderen. Volgens de hulpverleners wordt hun werk enorm bemoeilijkt door het optreden van de grondtroepen in het gebied. Onder meer het Internationale Rode Kruis schreeuwt moord en brand en wil ook dat de hulpverlening vlot kan verlopen los van de drie uur waarop er een staakt-het-vuren is.
Ook de VN voelt zich bedreigd door de Israëlische aanvallen nadat een VN-hulpkonvooi werd aangevallen. Daarbij kwamen twee mensen om het leven. Daarop besliste de VN om alle transporten van hulpgoederen voorlopig op te schorten.
Ondertussen wordt Israël opnieuw zelf bestookt. Donderdagochtend zouden verschillende raketten afgevuurd zijn. Daarbij zouden geen doden gevallen zijn. Het radicale Hezbollah ontkent elke betrokkenheid. De wereld houdt nu zijn hart vast dat de oorlog zal uitbreiden naar Libanon. De Libanese regering heeft de beschieting vanop haar grondgebied alvast veroordeeld.
Volgens Raji Sourani, hoofd van het Palestijnse Centrum voor Mensenrechten (PCHR) in Gaza, heeft Israël oorlogsmisdaden gepleegd en zou het voor een internationaal rechtshof moeten vervolgd worden.
"De herhaalde bombardementen op duidelijk gemarkeerde civiele doelwitten waar burgers schuilden, overtreedt verschillende regels van het internationale recht", zegt Sourani. De gezant van de Palestijnse Autoriteit (PA) in Groot-Brittannië, Manuel Hassassian, heeft al laten weten dat de PA gerechtelijke stappen wil ondernemen tegen de Israëlische leiders die volgens haar verantwoordelijk zijn voor de oorlogsmisdaden in Gaza.
Hassassian had het met name over het Israëlische bombardement op een school van de Verenigde Naties in het vluchtelingenkamp Jabaliya, waarbij veertig Palestijnse burgers het leven lieten. De voorbije dagen werden nog verschillende andere scholen van de VN geraakt. Bij bombardementen woensdagmorgen vielen vier slachtoffers op een speelplaats nabij een moskee in Gaza-stad.
...& Ook de buitenlandse pers laat hetzelfde alarmbelletje horen... We beginnen bij de Washington Post...
At Gaza Hospital, Chaos and Desperation
Israel's Strategy Of Dividing the Strip Hinders Relief Efforts
By Sudarsan Raghavan and Reyham Abdel Kareem
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
foto hiernaast :A Palestinian girl injured in the Israeli assault is carried to Shifa Hospital, which as been overwhelmed by the number of dead and injured. (By Abid Katib -- Getty Images)
JERUSALEM, Jan. 5 -- Mohammed Alwan applied pressure to the wounds of the young man in a corridor of Gaza City's Shifa Hospital on Monday. Blood flowing from his body turned the surgeon's gloved hands crimson.
"Khalas," a voice said, Arabic for "It's over."
The doctor refused to give up. He pumped the man's chest, hoping to resuscitate him. A few minutes later, the man died.
"What can I say?" he said in a fatigued voice. "I have seen this scene many times. I've been here four days straight and I've yet to go home."
As Israeli tanks and infantry push deeper into Gaza, an already dire humanitarian situation has worsened. The Israeli government has imposed what Palestinians call a siege on the coastal strip -- restricting deliveries of food, medicine and other staples -- since Hamas took Gaza by force from the rival Fatah party in June 2007. On Monday, Israel's military strategy of dividing the strip in two further hampered Gazans ability to reach hospitals and relief efforts.
The air assaults and ground clashes have paralyzed much of what makes the strip of 1.5 million people work -- hospitals, water and power systems, markets and roads.
About 550 Palestinians have been killed and more than 2,500 have been reported wounded in the 10-day offensive; Palestinian health officials estimate that many of them -- between 24 and 30 percent -- are women and children. Most are at Shifa, Gaza's largest hospital.
Doctors there are working day and night on floors soaked with blood to help the rapidly mounting numbers of wounded. In the halls and corridors, screams and uncontrolled sobbing, along with the sounds of bombs and mortars, punctuate conversations.
"The numbers of killed and wounded are rising. Every minute we have a bombardment," said Hassan Khalaf, the director of Shifa Hospital. "The number of cases is overwhelming us. No hospital in the world can handle this."
It's become too dangerous for his staff to retrieve victims. Eleven members of his medical staff have been killed since the offensive began. "They were in ambulances," Khalaf said.
For the past three days, there has been no electricity. The hospital's emergency generators have been working around the clock. Even before then, when electricity was sporadic, the generators were working 16-hour-days. The hospital, he said, has only two days of fuel left.
"Electricity and communications are down over much of the strip both on account of lack of fuel and damage to critical infrastructure," said Maxwell Gaylard, the United Nations' humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories. "Over a million people are currently without power, and over a quarter million without running water, some for up to six days."
Khalaf said there are also shortages of medicines, medical tools, nitrogen for anesthesia, monitors -- nearly every item imaginable. Many essential staff members, especially nurses, have been unable to come to work, cut off by the fighting, Israeli tank positions and fear.
"Those in the middle of Gaza Strip could not come to work because the Israeli tanks have cut the strip into two pieces," Khalaf said.
Fawzi Nabulsia, the head of the hospital's intensive care unit, said he hasn't worked since the ground invasion began Saturday. He lives south of Gaza City near the former Israeli settlement of Nitzarim. Israeli forces are now in the area, blocking the road between his house and Gaza City, Nabulsia said.
"Maybe you can speak with the Israelis and ask them to allow me to go to hospital," he said over the telephone, his voice tinged with desperation. "We are in crisis."
Khalaf said hospital staffers who live north of the city, where some of the heaviest fighting and attacks have unfolded, are too fearful to leave their homes. "Moving along Gaza's streets is dangerous," he said.
Inside Shifa Hospital on Monday, its doctors struggled to cope. Imad Majdalawi had handled 20 operations in 24 hours. In virtually every case, he had to fix broken bones, treat burns and cuts, and stop bleeding. "The worse thing I saw was the burns," he said.
In one case, he wanted to send a patient who lost one of his eyes in an Israeli bombing to an eye hospital. But his request was turned down: the generator for the surgical theater in the hospital was needed to fuel the emergency room.
On Monday, he was treating Ghadeer, a 14-year-old girl whose hands were covered in gauze. Blood seeped through it. She was crying and shaking. Her mother and four brothers had been killed an airstrike. She didn't know this.
"I am cold. I can't move," Ghadeer moaned.
Majdalawi soothed her. "Don't worry Ghadeer. Everything will be fine."
But there was no anesthesia or even the appropriate scissors and thread to help Ghadeer. "We are leaving patients in pain," Majdalawi said.
A neurosurgeon, Rami al-Sousi, was engaged in a delicate operation to pull shrapnel from 5-year-old Salim al-Ar's head. The boy would survive. Sousi has two small children but he hasn't seen much of them in the past three days. Ninety percent of the patients he treated were civilians, he said.
"Yes, I'm tired. But I forget everything when I save lives," Sousi said.
A paramedic working for an Oxfam-funded organisation was killed today after an ambulance was hit by an Israeli-fired shell, the charity said.
The Palestinian, working for the Union of Health Work Committees, was killed in Gaza.
Another paramedic lost his foot and the ambulance driver was injured in the same incident.
The paramedic was trying to help evacuate an injured person in the Beit Lahiya area, when the shell struck the ambulance, Oxfam said.
The UN estimates over 100 civilians have been killed in Gaza over the past week although some other organisations believe the civilian death toll is significantly higher.
John Prideaux-Brune, Oxfam's Country Director for Israel and Palestine, speaking from Jerusalem said: "The incident shows yet again that trying to fight a military campaign in the densely populated streets and alleys of the Gaza Strip will inevitably lead to civilian casualties.
"There are no safe areas and Gazans who want to flee the fighting have been prevented from leaving the Strip."
The charity said that the Israeli ground offensive into Gaza is preventing urgently needed supplies of medicine, food, water, and fuel from reaching one and a half million Palestinian women, men and children.
Prideaux-Brune added: "Hospitals in Gaza are overflowing with dead and wounded while facing severe shortages of essential medical supplies and spare parts.
"Oxfam and local partners have had to suspend all our work, apart from emergency medical aid. Many of our colleagues in Gaza are trapped in their homes, and in fear of their and their families' lives. Others, such as the paramedic have lost their lives trying to save others.
"The trickle of humanitarian aid that Israel has sometimes allowed in through one border crossing at Kerem Shalom has been completely inadequate to meet the needs of 1.5 million people - 80% of whom are reliant on this aid.
"Since the start of the Israeli ground offensive, even that trickle has dried up. An immediate ceasefire is urgently needed to allow essential aid to reach those families who need it."
'Een tijdelijk bestand? Wij van Artsen Zonder Grenzen hebben er weinig van gemerkt. Voor ons maakte het geen verschil uit', zegt Jessica Pourraz aan de telefoon vanuit Gaza. Het Israëlische leger had aangekondigd dat het om de twee dagen gedurende enkele uren de wapens zou doen zwijgen om de humanitaire organisaties de kans te geven hun werk te doen. Gisteren om dertien uur (twaalf uur Belgische tijd) stopten de Israëli's met schieten en borgen ook de Palestijnse strijders even hun wapens op.
Volgens Jessica Pourraz van de internationale hulporganisatie Artsen Zonder Grenzen werd alleen in Gaza-Stad niet geschoten. 'Onder meer in het noorden zijn de Israëli's blijven bombarderen. De meeste gewonden die medische hulp nodig hebben, bevinden zich in de periferie. En uitgerekend daar werd nog geschoten.' Artsen Zonder Grenzen is er dan ook niet in geslaagd om de gewonden te bezoeken, laat staan hen naar het ziekenhuis in Gaza-Stad te brengen. 'Een bestand van drie uur heeft geen zin', zegt Pourraz. 'Het is veel belangrijker dat dokters de garantie krijgen dat ze gewonden kunnen bezoeken.'
Artsen Zonder Grenzen kon geen extra materiaal in Gaza krijgen. 'Er staan honderden vrachtwagens met hulpgoederen aan de grensovergangen te wachten. Maar de weg die in Gaza naar de grensovergangen leidt, werd gebombardeerd. Wij geraakten gewoonweg niet tot bij de vrachtwagens. Het was te gevaarlijk.'
De VN-organisatie die de Palestijnse vluchtelingen helpt (UNWRA), heeft 36 vrachtwagens over de grens gekregen. 'Ruim onvoldoende', zegt woordvoerder Chris Gunness aan de telefoon. Normaal passeren dagelijks 475 VN-trucks met hulpgoederen. 'Dit heeft geen zin. Israël bombardeert de mensen 21 uren per dag en dan laat het gedurende drie uur enkele hulpgoederen binnen.'
Een hooggeplaatste bron in Gaza is van mening dat het bestand niet meer is dan een manier om het gedeukte imago van Israël op te krikken. Israël kreeg veel kritiek nadat zijn leger dinsdag minstens dertig burgers had gedood bij een aanval op een school van de VN.
De inwoners van Gaza-Stad hebben tijdens het bestand hun gewonden in de ziekenhuizen bezocht en geprobeerd levensmiddelen in te slaan.
De woordvoerder van het Israëlische leger zei gisteren dat de 'humanitaire corridor' misschien wel elke dag open kan gaan. 'Alles hangt af van de veiligheid.'
...& Wat vinden we bij Artsen Zonder Grenzen hierover terug ?!...
Tijdelijk staakt-het-vuren ontoereikend om hulp te bieden
Het militaire offensief in de Gazastrook treft burgers zonder onderscheid en medische teams blijven ernstige hinder ondervinden bij hun hulpverlening, zegt Artsen Zonder Grenzen. De organisatie stuurt een extra chirurgisch team.
De internationale gemeenschap mag niet tevreden zijn met een beperkt staakt-het-vuren, dat volgens Artsen Zonder Grenzen absoluut ontoereikend is om levensreddende hulp te bieden. Het Israëlische militaire offensief gaat door en het aantal slachtoffers naar schatting 600 doden en 2.950 gewonden in slechts 11 dagen neemt alarmerende proporties aan. Het toont aan hoe het extreme geweld burgers raakt.
Vandaag zijn anderhalf miljoen Palestijnen in de Gazastrook, waarvan de helft kinderen zijn, het slachtoffer van onophoudelijke beschietingen en bombardementen, zei Franck Joncret, landenverantwoordelijke van Artsen Zonder Grenzen. Hoe kan je nu geloven dat zon allesverpletterende aanval burgers zou sparen, die verhinderd worden te vluchten en die in zon dichtbevolkt gebied leven?
Het militaire offensief heeft terreur gezaaid bij de bevolking. Bewoners durven hun huizen niet meer uit om zich te laten verzorgen. Ook hulporganisaties lijden onder de onveiligheid. Palestijnse hulpverleners werden gedood en ziekenhuizen en ambulances zijn gebombardeerd.
De spoedafdelingen worden overrompeld door gewonde patiënten. De laatste tien dagen voerde het personeel van het Al Shifa ziekenhuis meer dan 300 operaties uit. De zes operatiekwartieren werken op volle capaciteit, met twee operaties tegelijk in elk kwartier, zegt dr. Cécile Barbou, medisch coördinator van Artsen Zonder Grenzen in Gaza. De Palestijnse chirurgen en het personeel zijn uitgeput. Ze kunnen het aantal patiënten amper aan. De meeste noodgevallen zijn patiënten met ernstige wonden en meerdere traumas, meestal aan de borstkas, de buik en het gezicht.
De teams van Artsen Zonder Grenzen in Gaza bestaan uit drie internationale en bijna 70 Palestijnse medewerkers. Zij proberen al sinds het begin van het offensief de Palestijnse medische structuren te ondersteunen en de gewonden te behandelen. Ze verdeelden medische noodvoorraden en medicijnen in verschillende ziekenhuizen die zonder materiaal dreigden te vallen. Momenteel behandelen 20 medewerkers van Artsen Zonder Grenzen mensen thuis en bezoeken ze dagelijks 40 mensen.
De onveiligheid is zo groot, dat onze bewegingsvrijheid en de mogelijkheid om medische hulp te bieden, extreem beperkt is, zegt Jessica Pourraz, terreinverantwoordelijke voor Artsen Zonder Grenzen in Gaza. We hebben onbeperkte toegang nodig om de gewonden de klok rond te verzorgen, en de burgerbevolking moet de ziekenhuizen kunnen bereiken.
Op vraag van artsen in het Al Shifa Ziekenhuis stuurt Artsen Zonder Grenzen een chirurgisch team (een chirurg, een anesthesist en een verpleegster), en een mobiel ziekenhuis met een operatiekwartier en een unit voor intensieve zorgen. Dat zal de capaciteit van het ziekenhuis vergroten. Artsen Zonder Grenzen hoopt de nodige toelatingen te verkrijgen om het team en het materiaal in de Gazastrook binnen te laten.
Het tijdelijke staakt-het-vuren zou misschien de toegang van gewonde patiënten tot de gezondheidsstructuren kunnen verbeteren, hulpverleners de kans geven zich te verplaatsen en transport van levensreddende voorraden toelaten (benzine, voedsel, medische voorraden en medicatie). Maar deze halve maatregelen zijn bedoeld om de internationale gemeenschap te sussen, en hebben geen impact op het geweld dat de bevolking ervaart, zegt dr. Marie-Pierre Allié, voorzitter van de Franse sectie van Artsen Zonder Grenzen.
Zaterdagavond zette het Israëlische leger in de Gazastrook een grondoffensief in dat tot vandaag in alle hevigheid doorgaat. De reeds uiterst kwetsbare burgerbevolking in de Gazastrook wordt hierbij het zwaarst getroffen. Zij kregen vorige week hevige luchtaanvallen te verduren waarbij reeds enkele honderden doden en gewonden vielen, waaronder ook vrouwen en kinderen. Tezelfdertijd blijven raketten vanuit Gaza ook de Israëlische burgerbevolking treffen in het zuiden van Israël.
Aanwezigheid van het Rode Kruis
Een chirurgenteam van het Internationale Comité van het Rode Kruis (ICRC) heeft groen licht gekregen van de Israëlische autoriteiten om de Gazastrook binnen te komen en zal de chirurgische staf van het Shifa hospitaal ondersteunen bij het behandelen van gecompliceerde kwetsuren. Tevens zijn Rode Kruis- en Rode Halve Maanvrijwilligers aan beide kanten van de grens dag en nacht in de weer met het evacueren van burgers, het opvangen van gewonden en het transporteren van de doden. Door de gevechten duurt het soms echter uren vooraleer de ziekenwagens van de PRHM de gewonden kunnen bereiken. Sommige gewonden sterven door het lange wachten op de ziekenwagens zegt Antoine Grand, hoofd van het ICRC in Gaza, dit is vanzelfsprekend ontoelaatbaar, de ziekenwagens moeten de gewonden onder alle omstandigheden snel kunnen bereiken.
Dankzij de voorafgaandelijke aanleg van noodstocks door het ICRC konden de meeste ziekenhuizen ook voorzien worden van generatoren, zuiver water, essentiële geneesmiddelen en medisch materiaal, maar de ziekenhuizen liggen overvol en de medische staf is uitgeput.
Watervoorziening in gevaar
Intussen komt ook de watervoorziening in het noorden van de Gazastrook in gevaar : door onderbreking van de stroomvoorziening vallen meerdere waterbevoorradingspunten in Gaza stad uit, en dreigt de bevolking van een half miljoen mensen op korte termijn van zuiver water verstoken te blijven indien de stroomvoorziening niet snel hersteld kan worden.
Bescherming van burgers
Het ICRC wijst alle betrokken partijen bij het conflict in Gaza op de regels vastgelegd in het internationaal humanitair recht die bescherming van burgers in een gewapend conflict voorschrijven. Ook blijft het ICRC de strijdende partijen aansporen om de hulpdiensten te ontzien en humanitaire hulp toegang te verlenen tot de getroffen gebieden.
...& Als extra ~om u toch enigszins inzicht te geven in de toestand van voor, tijdens & na...~ nog een korte reportage, gemaakt omstreeks de jaarwisseling over de humanitaire hulp aan Gaza die volgens Israël toch zo "probleemloos" verliep...
"Gaza Humanitarian Crisis That Israel Denies is Happening" duur : 7:21 minuten ...
Kortom... we mogen zo stilaan daarbij duidelijk spreken van "ONAANVAARDBARE RISICO'S VOOR BURGERS"... Weerloze vrouwen & kinderen waar Israël als 't er op aankomt weinig of géén rekening mee houdt...
"Rudi Vranckx in Sderot" duur : 3:05 minuten VRT-Journaal
...& Een getuigenverslag door Dr Mads Gilbert vanuit Gaza...
Gaza 2009 De "Digital Wargames" van Israël op YouTube...
Wij hadden zo intussen reeds enige tijd het donkerbruine vermoeden dat er nogal behoorlijk wat gemanipuleerd werd & wordt op het grote world wide internet... & jammer genoeg ook, eens temeer wat betreft Gaza. ...& Bij dit alles in het bijzonder spreken we dan hier over het u welbekende youtube !!
Israël is... & niet meer dan terecht, woedend dat Hamas tuigen afvuurt op de burgerbevolking, maar dat wil niet zeggen dat wat er nu ginds gebeurt, dit ook allemaal zo verantwoord. Wij noemen het "tuigen" omdat we die ~toch wel zeer primitieve~ dingen moeilijk kunnen beschouwen als raketten voor zover het gaat over die fameuse "qassamrockets". Dit neemt natuurlijk niet weg dat ook die knutseltuigen moordwapens zijn. In onze eerdere bijdrage(s) hebben we al uitgelegd hoe die dingen werken, maar sinds enige tijd wordt er ook beweerd dat Hamas Gradraketten zou afvuren. Wij durven natuurlijk niet twijfelen aan wat er door al die ernstige lieden wordt verteld... al willen we toch jullie een aantal dingen laten zien zodat jullie een eigen mening kunnen vormen... & aan dat laatste, daar houden wij nogal sterk aan.
Eerst & vooral.. wat is nu het verschil tussen een qassam & een grad ?!... De qassam moeten we niet meer uitleggen dachten we zo... & de gradraket is niet meer dan professioneel spul dat eigenlijk hier beter bekend staat onder de naam "stalinorgel". Het gaat natuurlijk over één zulke raket als we over een gradraket spreken. Hieronder kunnen jullie die in al hun glorie bewonderen:
Het hoeft dus geen al te grote &/of omslachtige uitleg, maar na de zoveelste "bewering" vroegen wij ons dus quasi onmiddellijk af hoe Hamas aan dit soort spul zou zijn geraakt... met lanceercamion &/of lanceerplatvorm, kortom tutti quanti ?!... Onmogelijk natuurlijk... Maar na wat speurwerk kwamen we er achter dat er toch een mogelijkheid bestaat om dat spul op een veel eenvoudiger manier af te vuren. Het gaat dan over een iets gewijzigde versie van dat stalinorgeltype.
Weapons: The 9K132 Grad-P Rocket
This latest conflict in Israel has highlighted an interesting weapon. Enter the 122 mm Grad Missile, or the 9K132 Grad-P rocket. Why is this different from the Kassam rockets and other homemade stuff? The range and lethality. It can go 20 plus kilometers and it is a factory made rocket. That means more Israeli deaths, and someone outside of the country is getting these things in. It could be Hezbollah, Syria, Iran (their Arash rocket-see article below), Egypt, Russia Who knows? But they have them, and they are using them. The most recent attacks were Grad rockets, and these longer range rockets were probably the tipping point(as well as just launching a massive amount of homemade missiles) for the recent activity. Just check out how many attacks have increased over the years.-Matt
Edit : According to news sources, these are Chinese made Grad rockets.
Single-round man-portable launcher, which can be reloaded and used again. The rocket itself is a 122mm fin-stabilized rocket, armed with any of the warheads used on BM-21 rockets. The weapon is not often used by the Russian military, but is popular with paramilitary and guerrilla force.
The Egyptians domestically manufacture the rockets Sakr-36″ and Sakr-18″ with a respective range of 36 and 18 km. Rather than a standard HE-Frag round, the Egyptian military prefers a 23 kilogram cluster munition, which can be extremely effective against lightly armored equipment and troop concentrations. Both rockets, as well as the original Soviet models of course, are fired by locally manufactured rocket launchers like the RL-21 (copy of BM-11) and RC-21 (copy of BM-21, similar to the Hadid HM20). The Helwan Machine Tools Company also produces portable systems with one, three, four and eight launch tubes.
The discovery of BM-21 components indicates that the Palestinians can now buy, or build, more accurate, and longer ranged, rockets. The 150 pound, 122mm Russian designed BM-21 rocket is nine feet long and has a range of 20 kilometers and a 45 pound warhead. Developed in the late 1930s, the 122mm rocket is normally fired in large numbers from many launchers at spread-out targets.Thats because the rockets are unguided. Aim lots of them at a target and youll hit something. Aim a few of them at something, and you usually wont, But the rockets are made by many countries, are relatively easy to get, and favored by terrorists for attacks that terrorize, rather than actually do any damage.
Well thats a matter of conjecture that rather than actually do any damage. If you believe that shit you havent been pounded by them.
An Egyptian company manufactures the BM-21, including a longer range version of the 122mm rocket. This one has a range of 45 kilometers. The additional range is achieved by reducing the size of the warhead. Another terrorist favorite is the is the 42 pound, 107mm, 33 inch long, Russian BM-12. This rocket has a range of about six kilometers and three pounds of explosives in its warhead. Normally fired, from a launcher, in salvoes of dozens at a time, when used individually, they can only be aimed at a large target, like a large village, or small town, with any expectation of hitting anything.
Islamic Jihad, the Palestinian terrorist group that is firing the rockets, says the BM-21s are Russian made, and of the 30 kilometer range variety.
9K132 Grad-P missile. Has a range of about 25 kilometers, payload of about 30 kilograms and the accuracy of /- a few kilometers. Pretty useless against modern military formations, but can kill a whole lot of random civilians if fired at, say, Tiberias. Or any of the kibbutzim, moshavim, villages and small towns around the Kinneret.
The timer-operated 9K132 Grad-P can be easily hidden in a loft, a garden, or just some bushes. It can be set to fire an hour or a month after it has been activated. The Syrian military has been stocking up on these lately (Russians were happy to provide them, even canceling Syrias tremendous debt to do so. Iran has their own variant, basically a mountless Arash missile with a modified launching mechanism) and training their slave-soldiers to operate these.
Notre: The article was originally written shortly after the capture of the ship Karin-A, however it is still very relevant, since it provides considerable information about the weapons the Palestinian terrorists could have accumulated in the Gaza strip.
On 6 May 2001 an IAF aircraft on routine patrol over the Mediterranean, spotted a suspicious vessel, named Santorini. Two Dabur patrol craft were sent to intercept the small (length 25 m, displacement 40 tonnes) ship, followed by two missile boats.
The missile boats intercepted the vessel in international waters, some tens of miles from the Israeli coast. Their crews noticed on the Santorinis deck a large number of plastic barrels of different sizes. A marine commando contingent of the IDF Navys Flotilla-13 (Shayetet-13′, Israels naval special forces unit) proceeded to board the vessel. The four crewmen aboard the Santorini did not attempt to resist the takeover. Upon inspection, the boarding party found the barrels filled with weaponry. The vessel was escorted to port at Haifa.
The investigation that followed revealed that the shipment had been purchased by Ahmed Jibrils Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC). Its value, including the price of the contraband delivery, was estimated at $10 million. The smugglers, who departed with the cargo from Tripoli, Lybia, were tasked with unloading the barrels-carefully sealed and waterproofed along with their contents-at a prearranged location off the Gaza coast, where they would be picked up by Palestinian Authority (PA) representatives.
The next day, 7 May 01, at 8:00 pm local time, a press conference was held on the matter in Haifa, with the participation of the Minister of Defense, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and commander-in-chief of the IDF Navy, Maj-Gen.Yedidia Yaari. The latter denied any knowledge of recent attempts at smuggling contraband by sea. By the next day, however, the interrogation of the suspects revealed that they had made three such attempts in the past, two of which were successful.
Eight months later, on the morning of 2 Jan 02 a squadron of Dvora patrol craft (and possibly Dabur boats) and fast attack boats of Flotilla-13 departed Eilat. This time the operation-code-named Noahs Ark-was planned well in advance. The task was the takeover of the weapons-laden Karine A. The actual interception was preceded by months of intelligence activity, code-named Operation Milk and Honey (khalav u-dvash).
The patrol vessels are too small to carry the commando boats on board, so the latter traveled the entire distance covered in the operation on their own power, refueling several times from the patrol craft. The takeover of the Karine-A, which Flotilla-13 personnel executed in 8 minutes without firing a shot, occurred on the night of 3-4 Jan in international waters on the Red Sea, between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, about 500 km from Eilat. Part of the contingent was fast-roped onto the vessel from helicopters, while the rest boarded from the speedboats. The takeover and escort of the Karine-A back to Eilat was supported by IAF attack helicopters. The operation was 0commanded from an aerial platform by Brig-Gen (tat-aluf) Eli Merom, chief of naval operations (mispen yam), with IDF chief-of-staff Lt-Gen (rav-aluf) Shaul Mofaz also on board. Karine-A arrived in Eilat the evening of 4 Jan 02, the entire operation completed in less than 60 hours.
The same day, at 14:00, the IDF held a press conference (Shaul Mofaz, Yedidia Yaari, IAF commander-in-chief Maj-Gen (Aluf) Dan Halutz, and IDF spokesman Brig-Gen (Tat-Aluf) Ron Kitrey participating) making public the Karine-As takeover. The first photos (taken while the ship was still at sea) of the deadly cargo were released. Two days later, on 6 Jan 02 at 17:00, another press conference, this time with the Prime Minister and Defence Minister attending, was held at Eilat naval base. The captured armaments were made available for the inspection of foreign military attaches, diplomatic officials and reporters.
This time the catch was more substantial: over 50 tonnes (up to 70-80 T) of arms and ammunition. It was to have been delivered by Karine-A (length 97.4m, disp.4000 T, constructed 1979) through the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean off the Egyptian port of Alexandria, where it would be picked up and reloaded onto smaller craft. These were to deliver the payload, packed in 80 (83 according to certain sources) watertight containers, to the Gaza coast. A typical fishing vessel is capable of towing several such containers, with the added advantage that the containers in the rear would remain underwater. If the fishing boat were spotted by an Israeli patrol, the containers could be released and relocated later (with floating markers). The weaponry was hidden under a layer of civilian cargo (clothing, mattresses, suitcases, electronics, etc.)
The captain of the Karine-A was Omar Ashawi, a FATAH activist since 1976, Lt-Col in the PAs Naval Police, and its adviser on maritime affairs. Several other members of the Karine-As crew were Naval Police officers; the rest were Egyptian sailors, who may or may not have not known of the contraband aboard. Ashawis interrogation revealed that the vessel had been purchased by Adal Mugrabi, a representative of the PA. According to Ashawi, the deputy commander of the Naval Police, Fatkhi Gazem, and the PAs finance Fuad Shubaki, also participated in the operation, the latter charged with making payment for the cargo. The ships last run took it from the Jordanian port of Aqaba (neighboring Eilat) on 24 Sep 01, to an Iranian island in the Persian Gulf, where its cargo was loaded.
Further investigation revealed that the arms were purchased through Irans so-called Export Committee of the Islamic Revolution for $15 million. Payment was delivered via Lebanon through Hizballah middlemen. The civilian cargo used to smuggle the contraband was worth about $3 million, the ship itself about $400,000.
It has been reported that the IDF will make use of part of the confiscated materials (including sniper weapons and explosives) and destroy the rest. The vessel may be used by the IDF Navy for training purposes (but its mechanical condition was deemed questionable).
Armaments and Ammunition :
Additional notes on Karine-A cargo:
* The shipment was so large that various items, such as RPG-7 rocket motors and AK magazines were not counted.
* A large part of the weaponry (mortars, anti-tank rockets, RPG-7 and motors) is of Iranian manufacture
* In addition to the Zodiac boats, a substantial quantity of diving equipment was present (diving suits, aqualungs, underwater illuminators).
* All mortar rounds and unguided rockets have impact fuse*
* All mortars and unguided rocket launchers were complete with aiming sights.
* In addition to the fuses in the mines, grenades, and rockets, the cargo included a large quantity of electric and mechanical fuse mechanisms of various types.
Arash. Analog to BM-21 Grad, Iranian manufacture.
Range: 20.75 km
Weight of rocket: 66.4kg
Warhead (WH): 19.18kg, high-explosive (HE)/fragmentation. Includes 6.4kg HE
Copy of Grad MLRS produced in China, Egypt, Rumania, South Africa, Iraq and Iran (?rash). Iranian variant is truck-mounted, with up to 30 launch tubes depending on model. Hizballah makes use of lighter trucks with 10 launch tubes, and of single launch tubes analogous to the Soviet 9K132 Grad-P (Partisan) system. Launchers intended for delivery to the PA were of the latter type.
Range depends on variant and warhead; data above is for BM-21OF (most common variant). Rocket is stabilized in flight by rotation and stabilizer fins, which open after launch.
Dit modelleke grad kan dus inderdaad afgevuurd worden op een eenvoudige manier & waarschijnlijk ook door 1 of 2 personen... Màààrrr... bekijk dat type dus eens heel goed & onthou ongeveer de grootte van de eigenlijke raket...
We gaan dan snel eventjes over naar de andere kant, namelijk naar het Israëlische leger die ons zéér boeiende beelden bezorgt van de slechterikken die Gradraketten aan het laden zijn. Jullie hebben dat ding nog steeds in jullie geheugen ?!...
Kijk maar :
"Israeli Air Force Strikes Rockets in Transit 28 Dec. 2008" duur : 2:42 minuten ...
...& kijk... Goed als we zijn gunden we ze hier nog het voordeel van enige twijfel... Tót we het volgende filmpje onder ogen kregen... 't Is maar dat u enig idee heeft hoe deze oorlog in werkelijkheid uitgevochten wordt...
"B'Tselem questions Israeli account of attack - 1 Jan 09" duur : 2:37 minuten ...
...& Al even veel last hebben we met het volgende filmpje ...
"Israel Air Force Pinpoint Strike on Grad Missile Launchers 30 Dec. 2008" duur : 0:40 minuten ...
Volgens onze bescheiden mening gaat het hier toch wel duidelijk over veel grotere types raketten & wij hebben daarbij niet meteen het gevoel dat je zulke dingen door een onderaardse tunnel vanuit Egypte in Gaza kunt naar binnen wurmen... zeg nu zelf...
...& Nog het meest tot de verbeelding sprekende voorbeeld vonden we hier & we vragen daarbij uitdrukkelijk om beide fimpjes goed te bekijken. Wees gerust. Het is dus niet het spel van de 7 fouten. Alleeen de titeltjes & de commentaren werden "aangepast"
"Direct hit of qassam in Ashkelon" duur : 0:17 minuten ...
Op het eerste zicht lijken zulke dingen natuurlijk erg banaal. Ach, het is tenslotte een raket. Maar in werkelijkheid is het verschil tussen de in mekaar geknutselde qassamraketten & de pofessionele grad hemelsbreed, laat staan het resultaat van de impact van die dingen... & als je daarbij beseft dat Israël dit als excuus heeft gebruikt om te doen wat ze nu doen ?!...
Tot slot & toch ook een beetje van kwestie van jullie enigszins met de neus op de feiten te drukken, over waar dit artikel over ging...
Ga zo ook maar eens een kijkje gaan nemen op "IDF Spokesperson's Unit", Israëls eigenste propagandakanaal op YouTube, of zeggen we misschien intussen op cynische wijze : MyTube ?!...
IDF Spokesperson's Unit
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The IDF Spokesperson's Unit is the Israel Defense Forces' professional body responsible for media and public relations in Israel and around the world. This is our new site that will help us do so.
We thank you for visiting us and will continue to update this site with documentation of the IDF's humane action and operational success in Operation Cast Lead.
05/01/2009 Israëlis en Palestijnen bestoken elkaar niet alleen met bommen. Ze gebruiken ook steeds meer het internet en telefonie om elkaar te treffen. De digitale media zijn de nieuwste wapens met het internet als ultieme oorlogsfront, zegt KU Leuven-professor communicatietechnologie Dirk De Grooff.
Wij blijven ons zo de vraag stellen of het geweld dat er op dit moment ginder gebruikt wordt, verhoudingsgewijs staat tot waar het in dit geval allemaal over begon ?!...
...& Wat denken jullie nu zèlf hiervan ?!... In plaats van zonder enige twijfel aan te nemen, van wat men her en der in de kranten zoal vertelt ?!...